Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Dad's Books

I took these pictures back in July, & I'm just now getting around to posting about them. This is one of my few 'personal' blogs. LOL I don't really get very personal here. I'm mostly about recipes & gardening in the summer. So here's something just a little more personal.

My dad loved to read. As I look back on it, my dad read a LOT. I can close my eyes & see him in his recliner reading a book. I didn't read that much as a kid. Oh, I read...just not like I read as an adult. I remember reading Magic Elizabeth & James & the Giant Peach. I also enjoyed reading The Littles.
After I was married in the mid eighties my dad started loaning me some of his books now & then.
One of the first books my dad loaned me was Christy by Catherine Marshall. It was a hardback & my mom had given it to him for Christmas in 1970. I really loved it, so he loaned me his book by the same author, A Man Called Peter. This is a hardback too, & was puplished in 1951. In the front it has his address sticker in it. I grinned when I first noticed it, because it was the address he had after coming home from the war & after he graduated from college at Purdue. He worked in another town. He was still a bachelor! He bought this book before he & my mom married in the 50's. I don't know why, I just got a kick out of that.
Years later he & mom were asking us if there was anything of theirs that we'd like to have after they were "gone". At the time I couldn't think of anything, & it felt funny to think like that anyway. A few weeks later I thought of these two books. They were two things of my dad's that I would like to have. I thought of it later & told my dad I'd like to have them, someday. He smiled really big & went to his bookshelf & got them down for me. He wanted me to have them now. I read them both again this last year & really enjoyed each of them again.
He really enjoyed bringing out out books for me to read, & for our teenage daughter to read. He'd even bring books for my husband to read too. He brought him books about Charles Lindbergh & Eddie Rickenbacher (sp?). I also remember him loaning my husband his North & South trilogy by John Jakes. David really enjoyed reading them & would tell me about them. So after he read them I read them too. Gosh...that was a long time ago! It was probably around 1988 or so. And not to leave our son out (he's only 5 so he didn't get very many years with my dad) I have pictures of my dad reading Richard Scarry's Biggest Word Book Ever to him. It was a present to our son from my parents. He still LOVES that book. :)
A few years ago Dad brought out a big crate of books to us. He said, "Here, maybe that'll keep ya busy readin' for a while." Here are the books in the crate he brought them in:

I said, "Wow Dad! I'll be a while before I get this back to ya." He smiled & said, "Oh, just keep them here." And he winked. He gave me these just a few months before he died. It's all of his James Harriot books. He knew we loved them. Our daughter had done a book report on All Creatures Great and Small quite a few years ago. She had borrowed his book. I think he stuck that Tommy Franks book in there for my husband, & that blue book is Treasure Island.

My dad died about two & a half years ago. My mom's way of dealing with things at the time was that she wanted us kids to go through his things & pick out things we wanted, the afternoon of his funeral! I just couldn't, really. I think we each got a few little things, but none of the four of us felt like 'going through his things' that day. I did pick out a few of his books, but none of my siblings had picked out any yet, so I didn't want to be greedy with them, if that makes any sense.
I didn't want to be grabbin' all his books up without the other kids having a chance to get what they wanted. So I just got a few that day.

Well, now it's been more than two years since he's been gone (wow, do I miss him!).
My mom started dating a man & they got married over the summer. In consolidating two households into one, they both had a lot of stuff to get rid of. My mom was calling a lot to see if I wanted this dish or that pot & what-not. One day she called & asked if I wanted any of Dad's books. I think I drove out to her house THAT DAY. LOL

And there were his book shelves, & they were still full. She said the other kids had already got what they wanted, so I figured I could get all I wanted. I asked mom if I was taking too much. She assured me that I could take them ALL if I wanted. Well, I didn't take them all, but I did get a lot! Here is most of them:

Here's a close up of his James Michener books. He loved reading Michener. I remember he'd get them for birthdays & Christmas. That little book there on top is an old copy of Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Here's another box. It has the Charles Lindsbergh book in it & one of the North & South books (Heaven & Hell), but we just couldn't find the first two books in the trilogy (he probably loaned them out). I also found some surprises! He had some Mitford books! I did NOT know my dad read the Mitford books! I only just discovered the Mitford books & just finshed book 2 last night, which was my dad's copy. I had checked out the first one from the library this summer. He had book 2 and book 5, so it looks like I'll be checking the others out from the library. I also didn't know that he had a copy of Through the Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot. I read that last year, again, checked out from the library. I also noticed that we ended up with two copies of Mutiny on the Bounty (well actually, it's The Bounty Trilogy) by Nordhoff & Hall. He loved this book (maybe that's why he had 2 copies? lol), he brought it out to me once years ago, but I just couldn't get into it.
I also got two books by Betty Smith, Joy in the Morning & Maggie-Now. She is the author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. He didn't have a copy of that, & I've never read it. I did read Maggie-Now YEARS ago, like probably 1985, & I thought it was so depressing! But, I'm more than 20 years older now, so maybe I'll see it differently & like it now. I'd like to read it again, as it was the first book I remember my dad loaning me.

In this next box you can see a book called, The Case of the Runaway Corpse! I thought that was funny. It's an old Perry Mason book. There's another old Perry Mason one in there too somewhere. They are old, they have that old address label in them, so I know he had these before he married my mom. There's also another copy of Mutiny in this box, so I gave it to our daughter. She got quite a few books too. Her favorite is Tanglewood Tales by Nathaniel Hawthorne.
My dad also cut out newspaper clipping & put them in books. If it had something to do with the book, or if an author died he'd cut out the obituary & place it in one of that author's books. James Michener's obit is in one of his books. He's got quite a few clippings of Ernie Pyle in a book about him. He was a famous WWII correspondent. He was from here in Indiana & I remember my dad talked about him a lot. There's even a special postage stamp taped in there, a stamp they put out quite a few years ago with Ernie Pyle on it. My dad also got some books from his aunt who lived in Washington D.C. I got a few books that had her name in them, & sure enough, she did the same thing with newspaper clippings! So every now & then I get an additional surprise when I open one of my Dad's books.

Well, that's it. That's my long post on books I've been meaning to write. I hope you enjoyed it.
I know I'll enjoy these books for years to come. I have finished only a few of them. I just finished the 2nd Mitford book that he had, A Light in the Window by Jan Karon, & a book called 5o Trees of Indiana. I'm now ready to dig into one of his James Michener books.
But which one?!


MichelleD said...

This is one of the best blog posts I've ever read. Ever. It is so beautiful. I can hear the emotions in your "voice" as I read it. I am so glad that you have those books, friend.

Anonymous said...

I love when you share your Dad because it reminds me so much of my Dad. I still read books I wish so much to share with him. I laughed at his double copies because I have, I think, four different editions of To Kill a Mockingbird. Each time my Dad found one I didn't have he would buy it for me. I know so well what it is to honor and grieve and remember your father through books (((Janey-pie)))

Jane said...

Oh gosh, Michelle! I don't really know what to say to such a compliment! I don't 'blog personal' very much, well hardly ever, lol, & usually it's because I just don't feel like I can put things into words. Thank you, friend.

And Dana, wow, you nailed it with those honor & grieve & remember through books.
Your dad's been gone longer than mine, I can't even imagine going 10more years without seeing mine. And if I live as long as my dad did (& if the LORD tarries), it'll be yet another 40 years.
Thanks friend. I love you dear.

Lori said...

What a lovely post and tribute to your Dad!
I've only read a couple Michner, Texas and Hawaii for sure and maybe another one. They were all good.

Pattie said...

I loved reading this too. My dad is a huge reader, but I don't know what he kept after he divorced my mom. SO I feel sort of lost not knowing what is on his shelf now.

The clipping thing made me smile, because both my husband's grandma and great-grandma did that, and we have some of their books with yellowed clippings stuck in the front cover...