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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