386 Mushrooms

4 Aug

Last weekend Darling and I set out on a mission: Operation Help Gram Sort Through the millions (okay, thousands?) of Photos she owns. I know that people are sentimental but my gram has pictures of ancestors even she doesn’t know, awkward prom photos of me and my HSB (high school boyfriend), photos of clouds and countless other subjects. It’s really quite sweet that she’s saved all of them over the years, but they are taking up space in at least four or five file-size storage boxes, so we promised to help her out.

The plan was simple: Gram would sort photos into cohesive piles, preferably with a theme (aka Memorial Days through the years, childhood photos, my grandfather) and then Darling and I would scrap them onto 12 x12 pages for her to insert into her photo album of choice. (Side note: I love to scrapbook. Yet another hobby I can’t wait to start on when I’m done with my MBA. This means that I have oodles of supplies, paper, stickers, borders, ideas, etc.)

Lately I’ve really been missing my grandfather, even though it’s been over 13 years since he died, so I took it upon myself to work on a few pages of Poppy from when his time during and just after he served in the US Army. Gram had all sorts of neat tidbits and photos of him from that time, so it was really quite easy. Then I came upon this picture (apologies for the quality, but I only had my blackberry on me and we know how unreliable those cameras are):

The photo is of my grandfather outside a taxidermy store, holding the paw of the giant bear that you see there. The caption, scrawled on the back of the photo, in my grandfather’s unmistakable handwriting  says “386 Mushrooms.” I looked at the front of the photo and I see nothing about mushrooms anywhere on the ground, on the sign above the door. Nothing. Gram had no idea what it means either.

Perhaps it was for the 386 Mushrooms that needed to be purchased to make dinner for his batallion? Or was it a nickname? The name of a song? Some weird code word? Times like this I wish Poppy were here so I could ask him what that meant because I’m sure he’d remember, chuckle, and share the story with me.

Any thoughts or creative ideas as to what it could mean?


13 Responses to “386 Mushrooms”

  1. Lauren from Texas August 4, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    386 Mushrooms – an address?

  2. Tabitha August 4, 2010 at 2:22 pm #

    How bizarre! I don’t imagine it could be a grocery list, because who plans to buy exactly 386 mushrooms?! Maybe he wanted to remember a conversation he’d had, something funny? I googled “386 mushrooms” and your post is the first thing to pop up. But then there’s this: a page in some book about Santo Domingo?


  3. Tabitha August 4, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    And this: http://www.library.unh.edu/special/index.php/gloria-berchielli (search the page for 386)…

    (I’m actually kind of amazed that there are so many search results for the exact phrase “386 mushrooms!)

  4. Angela August 4, 2010 at 2:27 pm #

    An address was the first thing I though of as well. I typed 386 Mushrooms into my GPS and this address came up:

    386 Mushroom Rd.
    Waxahachie, TX

    Hmmm.. cool story nonetheless. I love it when things from the past force you to create fantasties to fill gaps in time :) Good luck figuring it out!

  5. Becky August 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm #

    Maybe that’s how many mushrooms it took to stuff the bear?

  6. Kim August 4, 2010 at 3:23 pm #

    Maybe it’s a secret code of some sort. Or maybe they named the bear Mushrooms and he weighed 386.

  7. ClaireSuzanne August 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    I know exactly what this is. 386 Mushrooms was a crazy plan hatched by the US Army. A soldier would hide inside a giant taxidermy bear and the bear would be delivered to an enemy base as a gift. When night fell, the soldier would climb out of the bear and collect all sorts of important intelligence on the enemy. The US soldier would then climb back into the bear and when the enemy realized the next day that they had no use for a stuffed bear, they would throw it to the curb and the US soldier would be safe to escape back across enemy lines.

    This tactic was wildly successful in Russia. But less successful in warmer climates.

    It was name 386 mushrooms because the guy who came up with it loved mushrooms and the number 386.

    Historical FACT!

  8. Elizabeth August 4, 2010 at 8:02 pm #

    That sounds like such a special way to spend time with your grandmother! ClaireSuzanne sounds like she knows what she’s talking about–it sounds interesting!

  9. Kyla Roma August 4, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    That’s so wild! What a project, I’m looking to help my Dad clean out his house this summer and I’m a little daunted by it! lol This is like a vision of future weekends…. :)

    My guess is that’s how many mushrooms the bear stole from a farmer before he was made into an *ahem* permanent fixture of the establishment.

  10. Maddy August 5, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    Don’t know what it could be, but it sounds like it would be a good name for a song or band :) BTW – you’re lucky you got to at least spend some time with your Gram while he was still here. My mom’s dad passed away when she was 2 and we only met my grandfather on my father’s side once before he passed away :o(

  11. Lisa from Lisa's Yarns August 5, 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    How intriguing… Maybe it’s an address? I don’t have any creative juices flowing through me today so that is the best I can come up with!

    I love looking through old photos! That is great you & Darling are helping with this huge project!

    I have been missing my grandpa lately, too. It’s only been about 18 months since he passed so it still feels fresh. Plus, as I am getting to know E, we’ve talked about our families, etc, so I’ve been talking more about my grandpa which makes the pain of loosing him feel a bit more fresh…

  12. MASHley August 6, 2010 at 10:53 pm #

    ash – no idea what it means. but i like that he is raising his bear claw :)

    (in case this makes no sense, Baylor’s – where matt and i go – mascot is a bear)

  13. mandy August 9, 2010 at 10:33 pm #

    I’m sorry you’re missing your grandpa. My grandpap has some picture albums he found at my great grandma’s over the weekend and we were looking through them. I bet your grandpa would have a wild story about the 368 mushroom caption.

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