Treasure Chest Thursday: 09/03/09: Dad’s Scrapbook

I gently lifted the brown scrapbook from its storage space in the corner closet of the basement of my parents’ home. Tiny pieces of brown paper left a trail on the floor as I carried the book upstairs to the kitchen table. I carefully turned the tattered pages, and one by one the headlines captured my attention, as if trying to tell me a story.

“Alzo breaks scoring mark…Tallies 36 points in Steelworkers Loop”

“Alzo and Medich Pace Team in Brilliant Victory”

“Alzo Sets Pace”

“Johnny Alzo, former Duquesne High School standout and one of the most promising players in the district, has been one of the main factors in the fast pace of the Dukes.”

“One of the all-time Best”

While growing up, I often listened to my father talk about his days “on the court” playing basketball, first for his high school team—the Duquesne Dukes, and then various independent basketball leagues (United Steelworkers, Duquesne American Legion, and others) and semi-professional teams throughout Western Pennsylvania, until he hung up his sneakers at the age of 37. What I did not know was that my father received numerous awards and press coverage for his prowess on the court. He was named to an “All Tourney” squad in High School, and given such monikers as “crack forward” and “fancy marksman,” by sportswriters for the Pittsburgh Press and other local newspapers.

My father was not one to brag about his accomplishments. He simply loved to play the game of basketball. Instead, Dad collected all of his memories in that old scrapbook and tucked it safely away in his closet and forgot about it—that is, until his daughter, the inquisitive genealogist, stumbled upon it. Despite its tattered appearance, the scrapbook is a precious repository of newspaper clippings, photographs and scorecards of 20 years of play and a chronicle of Johnny Alzo’s life.

Treasure Chest Thursday on Friday!: 08/28/09: Powdered Sugar Can

Yes, I know it’s Friday, but I was researching all day at the Family History Library yesterday and did not get a chance to do this post. Better late than never…

My mother had a special aluminum can for storing the powdered sugar she used to decorate her cakes and cookies. Whenever my mother would bake cakes or cookies for special occasions such as holidays, weddings, graduations, etc. she would take this can with her so that the items would be “perfect” when placed on the cookie trays. One time, while driving from Pittsburgh to Cleveland for one of my cousin’s bridal showers, my mother realized that she left this powdered sugar can behind and cajoled my father to turn the car around after an hour or so into the trip so she could retrieve it. Perhaps it was our imagination, but those cookies always did seem to taste better with a sprinkling of powdered sugar from that “magic can.” I now have the can in my kitchen cupboard.