Have you ever owned a book, the subject matter isn’t important, that you hold as a prized possession? I have and still do. Maybe its the writer in me because I have such a love affair with books that make most people look upon as, well, strange to say the least! I believe its because, along with a vivid imagination a book can take you places that in your wildest dreams could never materialize, and yet afterwards you know you’ve been there….
I’ve had this Love Affair since I was old enough to read…..I remember when I would have to leave my friends for the summer and head to our home on the Delaware River here in Pennsylvania, my girlfriends and I would swap journals. We started the first paragraph and then left the rest blank to be filled in weekly from where ever we were for the summer. We would then mail each other our entries and hold them dear until Labor day weekend when we would all come back home to Brooklyn and exchange our journals, while sitting under an already changing oak tree in Prospect Park, we would dissect every word and then have to explain the “why’s and what for’s” of our entries …hence the “Legend of the traveling book……”
Now our letters are done through email and texting. My one friend moved back to her native Germany, another moved to California, two stayed in New York and I came full circle – back in Pennsylvania not that far from where it all started…..
these days I fill my shelves with books on travel, decorating, gardening, Christmas – anything, crafting and of course cooking! Most of my books are either hand me downs or used books from the library or online. There’s something about a worn book that gives your imagination a jolt. Who owned it? where did they live? How many of the recipes did they make? I just recently bought several used cookbooks from eBay, and in one of them the previous owners’ had left their names and cities they lived in along with notes on most of the recipes! how wonderful. So of course I needed to find the last owner….after much sleuthing low and behold I did! I sent her a letter with a photo of the book and to show her that I too had signed the book. We exchanged phone numbers and now chat often – especially when we’re making the same recipe for dinner. She then took the Baton and tracked down the other owners. The book originally was purchased as a wedding gift for the first owner in Seattle, she then gave the book to her sister-in-law who was moving overseas with her husband who was in the Navy. It then came back to the states for a charity event in Ohio and then ended up with the last owner before me in Indiana.
Now, I make notes in all my books, I sign my books and date them, and always leave a little paragraph of my favorite chapters for the next keeper of the traveling book….
The next time you happen to be at a tag sale or a second-hand bookstore, don’t pass up the weathered and time traveled book, instead purchase it and bring it home. Sign the old cover sheet and start your own Legend of the Traveling book……
“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. “ Anna Quindlen
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