I’m knackered. I’ve been up all night, but I had to write this as soon as I was done because I don’t want to forget everything. I’ve just finished poring over the documents and the whole thing is just fascinating. I’m jumping ahead, sorry!
So the always lovely Mr Wallace finally dug up the founding papers he’d been promising me and sent them over. It is quite the collection! There’s a lot of stuff about legal wranglings that back up a lot of what he told me about my family. It all feels like a bit of a rabbit hole to be honest. Stuff about numbers, payments, billings, and some pretty awkward memos. Actual memos, not emails!
There are pencil marks (words and drawings) over all the documents. Most of them seem pretty random but now and then there are things I can make out. There are names (I’m guessing they’re old employees?) There are a few maps of various cities with places highlighted on them. I wondered if they were AG properties, investments, or maybe just partners, but there’s nothing in the rest of the papers that match them. And there are numbers everywhere. I’m thinking they’re accountants’ marks.
All of it is yellowed, faded and crumbling, but I found a sealed envelope stuffed in the bottom. The pages inside are pristine. Untouched by sunlight or air for years upon years. I thought they might start crumbling the minute I opened the envelope. Want to see?
Look at this little fella. Is he not the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?! There are notes on them about Ackerly being the stubborn horse and my grandfather being the mercurial fish. Apparently it’s called a hippocampus, which means horse monster. Sea horse! And the best part is that a couple of the sketches are signed “Sylvia” which means my grandmother drew them! Also, the hippocampus has a name. Herman. Herman the hippocampus. I love Herman!
It seems like they were considering using this as the company logo at some point (the existing Ackerly Green gray box design is laid over him in a couple of the sketches.) Shame they didn’t, it’s perfect. I think I’ve found my tattoo. 😉
It was nice to find something like these sketches, something that feels “Green.” I’d got it in my head that I come from a long line of dreamers, wishers, always off in some fantasy… but all the other documents just felt like drudgery. Even the book, The Wolf And The Wild. I mean, it’s good. But man, is it dark. Just unrelenting. It starts with a man with a (so far) mysterious past who’s preparing for a terrible winter in Canada a thousand miles from civilisation. He settles into his cabin surrounded by ice and snow and nothing else… and then there’s a knock at the door. I’m equal parts riveted and totally freaked out. But this, like Through The Night, feels more horse, less fish. I’m beginning to suspect that Gray Ackerly might have been the major force behind what Ackerly Green published. If not, it’s what I choose to believe. Because I too am a fish and I can believe what I want.
But as I say, the rest of the papers are mostly just the admin and legal stuff relating to the founding of and the first years maintaining Ackerly Green, including:
- Purchase orders for book printing
- Shareholder agreements
- Notes for writers
- Notes from editors
- Bills for an office Christmas party
- Loads of receipts
And an unsigned memo about either Green or Acklerly wanting to buy out the other. Oooooh.
There’s nothing in here past 1959 it looks like. And nothing about the bankruptcy or closing down. Maybe they’re all bunched up together somewhere else?
The whole thing is sort of overwhelming; my heritage laid out on paper in front of me. But it’s also very exciting. It’s a link to my dad. This may sound weird but I think I’m beginning to understand him a little – at least how he ended up where he did. I’m just looking at the pages and I feel overwhelmed, how must he have felt inheriting Ackerly Press? A business. Financials. Employees. All that responsibility and he was younger then than I am now. I would run a mile.
Can you tell I’m still thinking about running back home?
But there’s something about all this stuff. Something I didn’t expect. For the first time in my life I not only feel a connection to where I came from, but also… a sense of responsibility?
I wish I had his watch. Could really use it right now.