Work continues on the taking-down-of-the-bookshelves in the McLain family bedroom. The shelves went up nearly 25 years ago, and they were quickly filled with paperback and hardback books, most of which I actually read at some point. Over the years, I collected books like a crazy person – first editions, books completing a series, favorite books, children’s books, mysteries, biographies, contemporary novels. For a while, I actually dusted the books. Well, if I’m being perfectly honest, for a while, I had cleaning people whose services included dusting the books and giving a rudimentary swipe to the top of the bookshelves on which sat very many photos. When I stopped paying a cleaning service, that task went by the wayside.
Hence: the McLain Dust Bowl.
Most of the books are now off the shelves, and all of the photos have been removed from their frames and inserted into an envelope. My plan is to someday remove all of the photos from the envelope and put names and dates on the back. Unfortunately, you know what they say about best-laid plans. But at least all of the photos are confined to an 8-1/2 by 11 envelope. As for the books, we have taken somewhere in the neighborhood of six or seven boxes of books to Goodwill. And speaking of the neighborhood, some of the books have gone down the street where a nice Southmoor Park resident provides a home for a little neighborhood lending library box. That library now contains a nice collection of Bill Bryson books, thanks to yours truly.
It’s been kind of a surprise to find out which items from that bookshelf have been the hardest with which to part. I have all of the Mitford books from the original At Home in Mitford to In the Company of Others. While I now own all of the existing books as e-books (thanks to Bill’s Christmas gift last year), it still broke my heart to give up those beloved books. I decided instead of taking them to Goodwill, I would take them to the library.
I kept some of the kids’ books I own, especially the ones that the grands seem to particularly like. Court’s favorite book was one called The Bed Book, by (randomly) Sylvia Plath. I read the book to Kaiya and Mylee a number of years ago, excitedly telling them it was their father’s very favorite book. Their opinion? Meh. Not so much. Still, do you think I can give up that book? Nope.
The only photos I’ve been able to toss are duplicates. Oh, and I threw away a photo of my first husband dancing with a woman I don’t recognize. That seemed appropriate.
I own three bibles; well, four if you count the bible on my Kindle. The first is a Catholic Study Bible, with a binding that creaks when I open it because it is so little-used. Sigh. The second is an enormous bible that Bec and Terry gave me when I graduated from high school. It’s the bible in which I documented my marriage to my first husband and the birth of Court, and his subsequent baptism. Family documentation stopped at that point, as Catholic bibles don’t exactly have a spot for divorces and second husbands. The bible is so old that in the list of the succession of popes, the last one listed was Paul VI. Still, it isn’t like the actual bible verses change.
The third bible is the one that stumps me. Somehow – in that way that things happen – I ended up with Grammie’s bible. It’s entirely in German…..
…..as are her family documentation notes…..
I can make out a few things. I know she documents the birth of all of her children and most of her grandchildren. And I know that she notes the death of her husband, my grandfather. Though I really can’t read it, I tear up every time I look at it…..
So, what stumps me is what, exactly, do I do with it. It’s almost certain that none of her great grandkids have any interest in that bible. Court met my grandmother exactly once when he was about six months old. But could I simply pick up that bible and toss it into a garbage can? Nein, no, nope.
So the bible makes the cut, and will likely move with me to my next house, wherever and whenever that might be. At some point, Court – or someone – will throw it, er, address the issue.