Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Prize

UPDATED: Sunday Morning.

In 1922, Birmingham Alabama, there was a playground, where, perhaps on a summer day, a Saturday perhaps, there was held a Track & Field Meet. The contests were run, heroes named, trophies given in recognition of Effort, Persistence, Determination, and perhaps, in some few instances, Luck.

I was not there, nor do I know if anyone of my family were there, although my father was born in Birmingham six and a half or seven years later. I do know that relatives probably live there to this day, although I do not know them.

How do I come to have knowledge of this long forgotten event? Well you may ask, since I have never to my knowledge been in the city limits of Birmingham, Alabama.

Yet today I acquired a Loving Cup Trophy from that event in the purchase of a bit of scrap silver. A large Trophy, standing 14 inches tall, 10 inches wide at the widest point of the art deco style handles. It weighs in at 28 troy ounces; made of sterling silver, it looks to have been neglected for many years...perhaps even used as a flower vase from the looks of the inside... until some one happened across it in an estate sale or flea market....or, I shudder to think, even a junk heap, from whence it was salvaged, scrubbed a bit with some abrasive (savages) and eventually found it's way to my hands. It looks like it could use a bit of tender loving care (no pun intended). A "do over" as the southern ladies would say on their monthly visit to the beauty and hair emporium.

I cannot tell who was the recipient of such a noble prize, as the inscription says "Boys Trophy" with the words "won by" under that and strangely no name where it should have been engraved.

Perhaps the winner was loath to turn it loose long enough for the local jeweler to scribe his name. Perhaps there simply was not enough funds to pay for that service, but it was presented by the Birmingham News, a paper no doubt......and there is where I'll start my investigation. Searching out said paper.....or if they have faded into the yellowed pages of history...perhaps the local library's micro-film records of old news papers if they still exist.

For as I start the slow process of cleaning the accumulated tarnish and grime of 88 years from the cup, gently tapping out what nick and dings as can be reached, straightening a bit of lean in the base which gives it a slightly drunken look, I'll also try to find out whose name should go in the rightful place.

A fools errand you think?

Perhaps so. But we lose a bit of our collective soul when we let those gone before (and while it's barely possible the winner still lives, not likely) fade entirely into the dust of oblivion.

Or perhaps I'm just trying to stave off the inevitable tick-tocking down of my own appointed time.

We all want a "Do Over" now and again....don't we?

Pictures to be posted's late and the bed calls........


Anonymous said...

... good luck with your search, sir.... and what a wonderful journey it could be!...


Jean said...

It is a beautiful find. It meant much to someone. Good on ya for treating it with the respect it deserves.

Bou said...

Hunh. My Dad is from Birmingham, born 1940. That's some years later, but perhaps there was something like that still going on? I'll throw him an email and ask.

kdzu said...

Thanks Bou, I appreciate it.