Saturday, April 21, 2012

Late last year my wife's cousin passed away, he was almost ninety. He lived in a white brick home on the road behind us. I use to mow his lawn for him then my wife took over after he moved across town maybe fifteen years ago and she kept a watch on the home. James kept the power, water, cable and phone on as sometimes his sons would come from another state and stay a few days. The heat was left on in winter and air conditioner in the summer so the home stayed in good repair. He couldn't bear to stay in the home though after his wife had passed away and thus he never had cleared out any of her belongings.
So moving along, when he passed his sons and their families came to clean things out. It was tough for them and I know the memories came flooded while they went to the task at hand. How many of us have grown up and lived in the same home all our young lives and then been able to come back with our own kids. This is a rarity today and the fact is that the home we live in has been the longest I have ever lived in one place, twenty years and counting now.
During the clean out so many things just have to be discarded, all of them attached to memories. My wife and I were asked to go through all the items they had gathered and stacked in the garage. After the long week of their going through everything time had caught up with them and they had to head home. If there was anything we wanted we were welcome to keep it. Part of it we took to hospice, a large portion went to the dump and a small portion came home with us. I kept the most of the books, many are first editions from the thirties to the fifties and early sixties, may be some from the twenties. I'm glad we went through those trash bags otherwise they would have gone to the dump and been lost forever. Several of the are children's mystery books and actually good reading a nd hard to put down. I'm reading one now titled "The Secret of Crossbone Hill" by Wilson Gage and illustrated by Mary Stevens. In these books are terms and words not used anymore I suspect as they are from a different time. One word is selfsame, I wasn't sure if this was a miss print or not so I looked it up. Heck, it is a word and here is another, slugabed and  Nebuchadnezzar. Look that last one up, it's interesting. Slugabed describes me on weekends and definitely my son.

One last cool note, James' wife worked for years at the now long gone Sellars Department store. I need to research but some of these books have the owners name written in them and I suspect the Claiborne S. Young - S being for Sellars as found in some of the signatures - is the son of Dorothy Sellars Young Brawley. He probably got the books on trips with family to New York on business trips to read while they stayed in there Penthouse apartment. (Note: Claiborne is in fact the son of Dorothy)

All This I've said is another reason I don't like e books and the push to put printed media and books out and bring in electronic everything. Electronic gadgets come and go so fast and how things are stored won't work with new gadgets. Books like the ones I now have in my possession have history how many e books can you pick up and see an original autograph in? How many first edition writings in an e book have any value? None.

Here is a link should you be inclined

Funny, spell check wants to correct the word selfsame.


Trobairitz said...

Great post.

It is amazing how much of the english language has gone by the wayside for a more slang vernacular. I like to throw older words in to conversations just to confuse the younger generations.

I am glad you and your wife were able to rescue the books from demise.

KT Did said...

I LOVE real books too Wooley, and those from the past. The history and just the beauty of them is a reason to keep them! Funny you mentioned signatures, a lot of mine have them in the front cover too. Given as gifts for graduations, etc., they did write in them. I have some from my youth with writing from my relatives too. So wonderful that you rescued them and the artful language we should have kept up. Very sorry for your friend's loss.