Every Saturday morning she jumps out of bed. Before leaving the room, she pulls the sheets tight and makes sure that everything is in its place. Each item carefully lined up on the shelf and nothing laying on the floor for someone to get their feet tangled up in. It’s Allowance Day! The list needs to be complete before she could even ask for that money.
The dishes are put away. Her clothes have been taken from their basket and placed in various drawers. And the most important thing to her father, the flowers in the kitchen had their water. A simple list to help instill not only responsibility but a sense of accomplishment.
All week she knew what that money was going to buy. The trick was making sure there was a little bit left over so some candy could be picked up after school. Knowing that reaching into her pocket showed everyone she was an adult on the rise.
Each Saturday the store owner kept this week’s addition to the collection behind the counter. Sometimes his wife handled over the package, other times it was some kid trying to earn their own money for whatever they might be dreaming about.
She’d show her bag to everyone in the house before placing it on the shelf. Once in a while she had completed the previous week’s book. That was what was important to my aunt, making sure she her finished last week before beginning the next weeks book.
Everything that some company thought were the classics. At least what had been written by 1935. So you had The Hunchback of Notre Dame next to Plato and The Collected Poems of Edgar Allen Poe. The gold lettering covering the various shade of brown and maroon of the faux leather with titles that could take her anywhere.
My aunt collected those books for years. Adding whenever possible, a shelf becoming a bookcase. All of them carefully kept neat so that they could be re-read anytime.
I don’t know why she stopped buying them. Maybe they didn’t make them anymore. Possibly with the advent of WWII someone hit a pause button on their production. It didn’t stop my aunt from buying piles of books throughout her life, but they were different from these.
When I was a child I was given this collection. I’ve read them all. Some where the copies I used for book reports in school and others just something that sounded fun.
My own collection of books has been a vice worth falling prey to. Very few get bought in hardcover form, it’s just so much easier to hit the “Add to Cart” button. Turn on my Kindle and there it is.
Ever been to a book signing where the only copy you own is in electronic format? I’m a smartass who actually had an author sign the back of my device!
At some point I hope my nephew wants those books. It needs to be something he falls in love with not something that is just handed over. Maybe that same sense of wonder will come to him like ti did for me when reading Jules Verne.
The other reason I want him to love these books? It will bring him closer to his own family’s history. The way they came to him and hopefully people will tell him stories about his great-great-aunt. Living history from words written long ago.