I love opening up a book and finding a surprise. I found three in the past two days. Yesterday, I found the sticker seen above. I googled it, and came up with three things
A Greek vehicle manufacturer
A German beer
The Pakistani Elvis
I think it is really LOVE, scrambled.
So, today I found two more unexpected things. First, a sad one, a card from a funeral.
Using my googling/detective skills, I found the memorial for this man on Find a Grave and posted the picture there. I’d like to think one of his friends left the card in my book. I got the book in either Florida or Alabama, I don’t remember, but Mr. Canavan was buried in Massachusetts.
My most exciting find was an autograph I’d completely overlooked. My copy of The Bride of Innisfallen by Eudora Welty is actually SIGNED!! It’s inscribed to a Mrs. George Barrett. There is a copy online that is inscribed to someone and signed and it’s selling for $120. Think I’ll keep the book to myself a while; just knowing she signed it makes me feel connected to her.
A few years ago I found a baptismal certificate and photograph in a book. Using those skills of mine, I’m pretty sure I found the owner’s brother on facebook, but he never responded to me. I don’t think he was very active online. Now, however, I may pursue it once more. I’d love to be able to return the items.
There is a book and blog called Forgotten Bookmarks that is about just these type of finds. I hope to get a copy of the book soon. In the meanwhile, I think it would be fun to write stories about the items I find. If I do, I’ll post some here.
Looking back on 2016, I was surprised at the number of biographical books I’d read. Here is my list with a brief review of each.
A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis
Written after his wife died, I would recommend this to anyone grieving. Lewis is brutally honest with his feelings and gives a true window into the soul of someone who loved deeply.
The Irrational Season by Madeleine L’Engle
This is the third out of four of her Crosswick Journals. It takes the reader through the liturgical year, addressing questions of faith and facing old age. Her writing style is lovely. Those of you who read A Wrinkle in Time as a kid must read this series, also.
The Confessions of St. Augustine
Parts were helpful, but some parts were difficult to comprehend. I had to read it very slowly. I enjoyed the biographical parts the best.
More Than Petticoats – Remarkable Georgia Women by Sara Martin
These stories were impressive, and one was of particular interest to me. That was the chapter on Leila Denmark. She is my cousin’s aunt (on her father’s side) and an exceptional woman. She was a pediatrician until the age of 103, and she lived to be 114.
One Writer’s Beginnings – Eudora Welty.
In this autobiography, Mississippi native Welty shares the details of her childhood and influences on her writing.
Dispatches From Pluto : Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta by Richard Grant
British-born Grant writes about the south in such a charming way. I really loved his narrative of life in the delta as seen by an outsider.
There is a lot of variety in these selections. Written from 400-2015, there is something here for everyone.
“I learned much later – after he was dead, in fact, the time when we so often learn fundamental things about our parents…” – from One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty
Why is it it takes so long sometimes for us to understand each other? Why didn’t I understand as a teenager that everything Dad threatened was not actually what he would do? I didn’t appreciate what a challenging task he faced in trying to parent when he barely remembered his own father. I didn’t appreciate how difficult it must have been to be a good father when he’d been brought up without one. It must have been especially hard to know what to do with me, his only girl. I can’t remember him saying “I love you,” until after I started college.
I didn’t realize how much he wanted me to succeed. He supported my desire to go to college and I wanted to follow in his footsteps, so I majored in marketing. He didn’t say a lot when I got engaged after two years, and got married instead of returning to school. Except for right before he walked me down the aisle. My hand was in the crook of his arm when he turned to me and asked, “Are you sure?”
He always seemed to struggle with showing his concern. Sometimes he was too hard on me. Sometimes, because he worried, he didn’t say anything at all. He didn’t show excitement when I got pregnant, but then he would warm up to the idea over time, or maybe he became resigned to the fact that there was nothing he could do about it. By the third pregnancy I decided I wouldn’t care what he thought, and by the fourth I think he realized we were going to be okay. But, no matter what, he was there or on his way to the hospital with each birth. He was happy to be a grandpa.
I missed him so much when, after having four kids, I finally walked across the stage to receive my degree in Elementary Education. I wish my children had been able to spend more time with him; to grow into the special nickname he had for each one of them. My oldest was 15 when Dad died. He wasn’t there for any graduations, or the wedding of that oldest, or the birth of his two great grandchildren.
I tell my husband and my son “Happy Father’s Day” , but I wish I could still say it to Dad.
In talking about a music box at her grandparents’ house, Eudora Welty compares the sound to spoons in such a way that I could fully sense what she meant.
“….rather as if the spoons in the spoon holder started a quiet fretting among themselves.” ~ from One Writer’s Beginnings
This is a fantastic combination of simile and personification. After (as an adult) I read The Indian in the Cupboard, I thought often about things in cabinets as having a personality. Maybe I should not admit to this childish working of my mind. Maybe I should funnel this imagination into a picture book.