Thursday, November 28, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: The Sale Contract

A couple of months ago, John at Filiopietism Prism had a thought-provoking article about genealogists and hoarding. It reminded me that I have something that wasn’t meant to last, but I’m glad it did because it offers a glimpse of a particular time and place in my parents’ life.

Sale contract
Sale contract between Maurice Belair and Vanity Fair Furniture, 1958 

It’s a conditional sale contract for household furniture and appliances that my Dad signed in late 1958 a few months after he and Mom moved to Timmins, Ontario. Mom kept this contract in her bedroom dresser, along with other odds and ends like photos and souvenirs. In time, though, some of those items were lost or thrown out, but the sale contract survived.

It was only a few years ago, though, that I realized just how special the contract was. One day, I was looking at it again for the umpteenth time when something clicked in my mind. I paused, and then I did something I don’t think I ever did with that contract. I read it, properly read it – line by line, word by word. Not only that, but I also checked the ink, the style of writing, the crossed-out words, and other details.

When I realized that I was holding a treasure, the personal, financial and business facts emerged from it with ease. Here are some of those details:

• Personal:

- My Dad’s name and age.
- His mail and residence address.
- His length of time at present address.
- His residence telephone number.
- His marital status and number of dependents.
- His type of accommodation and name of landlord.
- His previous home address and length of time at that residence.
- The names and addresses of two relatives.
- His signature.

• Business:

- His present employer.
- His length of time and occupation with present employer.
- His previous employment and length of time there.

• Financial:

- His approximate monthly income.
- His bank.
- His references.
- Goods purchased and the cost.
- Cash selling price for purchased goods, cash payment, finance charge and length of term, recording charge, and total deferred payments.
- Payments payable to whom and when monthly installments commence.
- The date of transaction.
- The vendor and salesman.

And something else: my Dad’s signature (Maurice M. Belair) located in the bottom right portion of the image. His style of handwriting stayed essentially the same throughout his adult life.

Imagine how much information about my Dad I’d never know about if he or Mom had thrown away this simple piece of paper after they finished making those payments.

Pretty cool stuff, eh?

Copyright © 2013, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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