There was lots of interesting old stuff in Amy’s grandma’s basement: newspapers from 1963, a haunted chest belonging to Waylande Gregory, cassette tapes from the Apostolate for Healing and Evangelism, a phonograph with one of those trumpetlike speakers, an Apple IIe, dozens of neon beer signs — but the most striking historical artifact was “The Ghosts of My Friends,” a creative autograph book in which the owner’s friends signed their names with a blotty fountain pen, then folded the markings in half to form ghostly images.
The dedication in this “Ghosts” book was to Edith from her Mother for Christmas of 1909, making this book just under a hundred years old, with the dates on the signatures going till 1920, and many empty pages left after the last signature. Most interesting to me was the name “Ethan Allen,” left the same day the book was given to Edith; and “The Cheerful Idiot” who adorned his autograph with devil tails and a dedication to Wallis, “Oh! those eyes they go thro’ me and button in the back.”
Others have come into possession of copies of this book via estate sales and such: design sponge, edition of one, and someone on the Fountain Pen Network. Were I in possession of a blotty fountain pen I’d have added myself to this ongoing record of historical whimsy.