Thursday, July 15, 2010

Three Years of Memories

Coming up on my three year anniversary of blogging about books, and I'm getting wistful. When I started buying vintage books for my son, it was mainly as a way to save money. I'd spent his first year collecting expensive, heirloom hardcopies of classics and my wallet couldn't keep up with the demand. As I've said before, I found a copy of Why I Built the Boogle House for $2.95 and my fate was sealed. Very quickly the act of buying and sharing vintage books with my son transformed from being a financial one into one of reunion and revelation. Once you begin the search through used book shops and thrift stores, you run into all kinds of old friends you'd forgotten you'd loved. Pictures and stories bring up old memories, and the old memories become new when shared with a child.

I started this blog as a way to broadcast my building excitement for what I was discovering, and found there were others out there, too, looking for long-lost loves. Not antique dealers or sellers or collectors, but people just looking to reconnect with a wee bit of their past. I'll never forget the feelings of longing and melancholy that overtook me upon finding my childhood copy of Our Best Friends in my mother's attic. Or getting teary-eyed reading my son The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes for the first time. Or coming upon John Goodall's The Sleeping Beauty and remembering how I loved it as a girl.

As one reader commented after seeing the scans of A Rocket Trip to the Moon...

Brought tears to my eyes--because this was one of my favorites as a kid, and I completely forgot about it (and must have lost it...)

I experience this almost everyday in my travels. Sometimes it's the book cover. Sometimes just a half image from a drawing tucked deep inside its pages. Maybe it's recalling the way the book felt in my little hands or a rainy afternoon spent at the library a million years ago. That feeling of a childhood lost and remembered. Picking up these little volumes of my personal history and discovering new titles I'd never dreamed existed, all in the hopes of passing down a love of books to my son. He is five years old now. How many years do we have left? How many years before his books become truly his and his alone?

Surely, he will have his own favorites and pick his pages to remember, but for me, I guess I am creating my own new memories. For me, standing in his room... looking at a bookshelf of possible moments to snuggle in and make up silly voices and fall in love with illustrations and stories and imagine the whole world right there in our hands... if that isn't hope, I don't know what is.

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11 comments:

Meghan said...

for me, this blog is every bit of what you described. i have found so many old friends and new ones too. it has been an open door to a land of adventure for me and the little guys. i'm glad you do this! xoxo

Willow said...

Wonderful post--I too have lovely memories of my favorite books from childhood. The earliest--and I still have it (in tatters)--was The Little Squeegy Bug. A wonderful book, published in 1946 (those old editions are pricey), about a little bug who wants to get a stinger in his tail like a bee. But a wise old spider convinces him he should get a light in his tail so he can guide the other bugs at night. He does, and becomes a firefly!

Beth said...

I'm so happy I found your blog. I also have a great love for books and have since childhood. My 3 year old has over 100 books already... most I buy from thrift shops, used book stores, etc. Every night we read about 5 books together... some classic and some new. Thank you so much for sharing your love of vintage kids' books with the world. Your blog is the best. =)

Scribbler said...

Thanks all! Remember, anyone who wants to guest post is welcome. I'd love to hear of some new stuff... details here..

http://www.vintagechildrensbooksmykidloves.com/2009/01/great-readers-write.html

Snappy Di said...

I've thought about it and I think that the books I read in childhood are remembered so well because we had so few books. Those few books with their stories were read over and over and over and became ingrained in my sister and I. Still looking for a book that I can't remember the name of, only the gist of the story. Hopefully one day someone else will recall it and tell me where to find a copy.

Di

Margaret Perry said...

COngratulations! You're blog really is a treasure, and a testament to great art, great literature, and, most of all, love and families! Brava!

Corrie said...

Don't worry, your vintage collection can grow with him to other books. Books like Lentil where there are more words than pictures. And then on to chapter books. The Narnia series is great. There are tons of vintage books that can grow with both of you. Don't give up reading to him.

Scribbler said...

Fear not. He's been through the entire Harry Potter about six times and is on book five of Narnia... I'm not gonna stop reading to him until he throws me out of his room!

Anonymous said...

I recently discovered `Oh What a Busy Day` by Gyo Fujikawa....when I looked at the illustrations I just knew that I had to have seen them before - I felt such a connection and sense of nostalgia - probably either I owned it as a child or my grandmother had it at her house for me to read or something....lovelovelove it.

-Leanne :)

Heather said...

I absolutely love your blog. I can't tell you how many times I check it and feel I'm reacquainted with an old friend. And then there's all the neat ones you've introduced to me, too. Thank you!

Nan said...

You spoke the words written in my heart.

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