Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Old Things

       There's no explaining one's thought process but several weeks ago I thought of an old book of my childhood. I have no idea what made me think of it or when I last looked at it. I had no idea what had happened to it, but it was long gone. And I wanted to look at it again.
        I became obsessed with the idea. It was out there somewhere. Google can find anything. And sooner or later eBay will have it up for auction.
So I started searching for A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. And it was on eBay. Twelve pages of listings. Fifty books per page.  There was one printed in the late 1800s. There were some with torn pages, some  that were falling apart, and some never opened. From that early one, to reprints  in every decade, I searched for a familiar cover. There were leather backed ones, and tattered ones, children in old-fashioned clothing, and modern-day ones. But never the right book.
          One, belonging to the seller's 93 year old aunt and very well preserved, appealed to me. The $123 price didn't. Some had scrawling pencil marks. I was taught not to write on my books, so those were not considered. Some were inscribed and dated as a gift. Those had no appeal, for that defined them as belonging to someone else. There was a "very rare" one for $200. I passed on that one also.
        Then last week my book appeared. After all these years (at least 80), I recognized it immediately. It was a 1919 issue and priced at $3.70 with one bid and 6 days of the auction remaining. I put in my bid and waited.
Oh how I wanted that book! Finally, in the last few minutes, I could stand it no longer, and entered a ridiculously higher price just to be on the safe side, hoping no one else would be so silly.
      The seconds ticked away and I won my book for only the $4.20 of my first bid. Now I'm looking forward to once more reading those wonderful little verses once more.

       Okay, so I'm in my second childhood. So what! Childhood was fun.