The winter storm that professional weather-promoters nicknamed Jonas dropped 26 inches of snow onto my back deck in a 24-hour period last month.
I know this for a fact because my grandfather helped me measure it.
I imagine many families have small “heirlooms” — items that are not formally handed down, but that make their way from house to house, find their small niche in life and drift comfortably along for years.
Things like potholders. Or those holder-things you put casserole dishes on when they’re fresh out of the oven, so they don’t scorch the table (their proper name escapes me.) Or modest two-level bookshelves. Or bottle openers. Or folding card tables topped with sticky vinyl.
Or, in this case, a yardstick.
I couldn’t tell you how it ended up in my hands. But pretty much since I moved out of dorms and into homes of my own, I’ve had the same yardstick.
It doesn’t get a lot of use for anything but snowstorms, so it stands a pretty good chance of getting passed on again … unlike my other grandpa’s novelty New York Football Giants bottle opener, whose NY logo has been worn to nothing over the course of thousands of beers.
But that’s a story for some other time.
There is no Stamford Savings Bank any more. The institution still exists, but has been renamed First County Bank.
It doesn’t appear that the phone number on the yardstick was retained by any of First County’s 15 current branches, either, so don’t call it if you’re in the market for mortgage rates or certificates of deposit.
The actual piece of wood is not antique in any way, shape or form. I believe it dates to a specific window between May 1983 and April 1985.
The first date — if the Interwebs are correct — is when Stamford Savings Bank opened a new branch at 1110 Hope Street, in the Springdale neighborhood of Stamford, across the street from my grandparents’ house at 1107. (My cousin John, who is in the building trade in Stamford and who has shown up on this blog before, was apparently involved in the building’s construction.)
And the second date was when my grandparents, having sold the old home for demolition, moved out to start a new life in western New York.
I have no concrete proof that my grandpa did his banking at Stamford Savings, as his financial records are long gone.
But I’m fairly certain the yardstick came from him. The bank was across the street, after all. And in my dad’s words:
My folks strongly felt a part of Springdale, and if there was a branch in Springdale, would likely have put their money there. Although that being said, I think both of your grandfathers were of the type that started a new checking account at the bank du jour to get the free toaster.
(D’oh! I could have been handed down a toaster. Wouldn’t’a helped me measure the snow last month, though.)