Part of moving is decluttering. I’ve mentioned that, as well. Going through memorabilia has a certain charm. Yesterday I sorted through a bag of old cutlery, separating the silverplate pieces from the stainless. The silverplate was my mother’s, not expensive or rare, but hers. I will keep it, polish it and use it. Along the way I found a sturdy knife and fork with USN on the handle. Michael’s father was in the navy. The rest? Thank you, Goodwill.
Silverware is simple. Keep the good stuff and donate everything else. Then came the box of books. Old books, some very old. (Hoarder alert.) Once upon a time we attended an auction and won a batch of unopened boxes. Most of the stuff was cool but useless. But old books? We never throw out old books, right? After all, they might be worth, well, who knows?
I remember the auction, but not where it was or how long ago. The fact it has faded from memory is a clue. But looking through the box? Be still my heart. The Canterbury Tales with gorgeous illustrations. Robert Louis Stevenson’s Kidnapped and its sequel. Winston Churchill’s Richard Carvel. Horatio Alger’s Dan the Newsboy. Atlases, leather bound dictionaries. None in great condition, but all intact, if faded.
What in the world will I do with them?
Thanks to the Internet, I hopped online to see if we had found treasure again. We hadn’t, although for a moment I thought the Canterbury Tales might be. But no, ours, as glorious as it is, might be worth $20, but only if I spent a lot of time and energy looking for a buyer. The other books? A few dollars here, a few there or nothing. No sense in pretending.
So back to square one. I don’t think libraries want old copies, not even for sales. This is the first year our church is not doing a book sale. The rare book stores I called either weren’t buying or weren’t interested. I forgot to explain they could just have the books. I’ll be sure to tell the next store, but I doubt that will impress them.
So what do I do? Why am I spending all this energy on a box of musty books? Why do I care?
These are books. People owned them. People read them. People dreamed about their content. A century or more ago somebody sat at a desk, just the way I do, and wrote them.
Canterbury Tales will come with me. Dan the Newsboy might, as well. The others? I’m still thinking. If you have any good ideas, be sure to let me know.