Monday, November 24, 2008

Le General Marquis de Lafayette Medallion

My grandfather, Fred Cranmer (1904-1991), had worked a variety of jobs throughout his lifetime. Farmer. Carpenter. Ditch digger. It was his days as a ditch digger during the Great Depression when he found this medallion celebrating the centennial of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. He gave it to me when I was just a kid.

I hadn't seen the medallion in years and thought it was long lost. Fortunately, my mother saves everything, and as I was rummaging through some boxes at her house, lo and behold, I found the medallion where she had placed it with all my Army coins. A nice discovery.

This little treasure is one of the few items I have from my grandfather and that makes it priceless to me. Some day, I’m sure I will send it to the college, maybe for their bicentennial in 2032. In the meantime, I'll just keep a closer eye on it.


pattinase (abbott) said...

A number of classmates of mine went to Lafayette College (I grew up in Philly). A very fine institution at that time.

Terrie Farley Moran said...


You are very lucky to have a keepsake of your grandfather.

I'm glad you decided to keep it handy!


sandra seamans said...

Isn't it funny how such little tokens bring back such wonderful memories of our loved ones. I have a lamp on my desk that belonged to my grandmother. I remember lying on her living room floor under that lamp's light and reading and playing Authors with my cousins. Great times.

Josh said...

very cool. Its always nice to find things once thought lost.

BTW, favorite Sean Connery movie is a coin flip between Thunderball, From Russia with Love, and Time Bandits.

Scott Parker said...

I can appreciate your rediscovery on multiple levels. The obvious one is the medallion's importance to your grandfather and him passing it to you. I have something similar: a 1906 silver dollar fashioned into a keychain. But as a part of history: that's very cool. And how your grandfather found it: that's a mystery story waiting to be written.

David Cranmer said...

Patti, Even though I've had this medallion for years, I never knew anything about the college. Thanks to the net, I can now at least say that I've seen pictures of the campus and read part of its history. It looks like they still use the same bust of "le General Marquis de Lafayette" for their insignia.

Terrie, I also have a “Beer for 5cents” clock that once belonged to him. Talk about two mementos that are extreme opposites! I'm sure I'll hold onto that clock forever.

Sandra, I know what you mean. Having that physical piece, something we can see and touch, gives us that link to them. It's comforting to have those connections and memories.

Josh, It was a relief to find it. As for Connery movies, Time Bandits and The Great Train Robbery are my picks.

Scott, And I can appreciate a 1906 silver dollar keychain, as both a part-time coin collector and a history buff. What a great memento! I hadn’t thought about the story of grandfather finding the medallion. It does seem like something that could have potential for a good mystery... thanks for the idea!

Charles Gramlich said...

A nice find. Gotta love it.

Travis Erwin said...

What a great memento.

Randy Johnson said...

Good memories. Glad you found it.
I have my own. When my Grandfather passed, Grandmother gave me the only three books he owned.
A bible with his name in gold leaf on the cover.
A battered first edition Zane Grey, Under The Tonto Rim.
A 1932 edition of Treasure Island.

Barbara Martin said...

Special gifts from relatives are a treasure to hang onto. I have an early children's book by George MacDonald "The Princess and the Goblin" first edition 1886 that my great-Aunt gave to me during a visit to England many years back. Its a keepsake for me to treasure more the memory of the great-Aunt that she had the kindness to give it to me.

David Cranmer said...

Charles and Travis, Most definitely.

Randy, For someone who loves books like we do, I can't think of a greater remembrance of your grandfather, especially these three particular books.

Barbara, My wife would love that book. Lately, she has been looking for classic children's books. What a nice treasure, as you said, not just because it's a first edition, but because it came from someone special.


I totally relate to your feelings for this coin. I have my grandfathers little pen-knife he used in the garden and always carried in his pocket. It means the world to me.

David Cranmer said...

Archavist, The penknife sounds like a wonderful keepsake knowing that your grandfather used it often and it had significance to him. It's like that significance is handed down too.

Barrie said...

Very cool memorabilia. How fortunate your mother saved it.

David Cranmer said...

Barrie, Moms are the best!