Friday, January 22, 2016

Going Back in Time.....

Since childhood I have loved old books. Every Sunday we traveled to visit my uncle. His house had an upstairs sunny bedroom that had a tiny attic door off to one side. Inside that little attic room was several shelves of old, dusty books. I would pick one off the shelf and lay across the old four-poster bed and read. I discovered Lord of the Rings, Treasure Island, Captain Blood, Jane Eyre and other classics this way. But I also found many more obscure, simple & forgotten stories. Old tomes that were never classics, and had been out of print for a very long time.

All those Sunday afternoons started in me a love for old books. It doesn't matter what the story is....good, bad, poignant or ridiculous....I love them all.  I troll used bookshops and thrift stores looking for just the right ones. Interesting covers. Strange titles. Old inscriptions inside. Faded bookplates. I always wonder, with a feeling of joyful nostalgia about all the people who owned the books before me. Did they enjoy the story? What was their life like? Makes this Bibliophile happy in her soul! About once a month I take an afternoon, brew a pot of Earl Grey, and curl up on the couch with an old, forgotten story from a bygone era. It's wonderful!

There are many places to find these old sales, thrift stores, library sales. Some I keep.
Others I pass on to other book lovers who have an interest. And some lead me on sleuthing missions to find the rest of a series. For instance, I found a beautiful book from 1917, Polly's Senior Year at Boarding School by Dorothy Whitehill. I discovered it was but one volume from the Polly Pendleton series of books. There are at least 13 books. Senior Year is Book #3. Book one was published in 1916...100 years ago! Book #13, Polly and Priscilla, came out in 1932. Whitehill wrote two other similar book series: The Page Twins and The Joyce Payton Series. Two of the other Polly books are available online, Polly's First Year at Boarding School and Polly Sees the World at War. And has a classic reprint of the series. See? Just one book, with its nearly 100-year old pages and cover faded, sent me on a most interesting research project. All those years ago, these books were the YA genre for teenage girls. It was a totally different world back then. Diversity, and discussions of sex or gender equality were off in the future. Whitehall's books were fluff stories about a wealthy girl going off to boarding school and her adventures...she even helps apprehend a German spy in Polly Sees the World at War.

Today, it's snowing outside. I live in the south. Snow means everything is shut down. So, today I'm going to hunker down with my chihuahuas, Earl Grey and Polly's tales of senior term. It's a good day to travel back to another place in time. I will enjoy my short venture back to 1917, and then this beautiful book will go to its place on my mantle shelf.

1 comment:

  1. We are two of a kind, my friend! Next to my family and my furbabies, books are my treasure! Enjoy!