Thursday, December 16, 2010

Forgotten Bookmarks: A catalog of articles left in old books. That is the greatest past time ever. I have found a few interesting ones. The most amusing was a packing to-do list from the early 60s for a spring break trip to Florida or something. It was full of all of the stuffy stupid beauty articles women employed then. girdle, cold cream, curlers, garters, dress shields, but my favorite was a hastily scrawled, "b.c." Oh how too embarrassing to commit it to paper!

Sometimes they are sad, I find pressed flowers to be sad, or a photo or something. My grandmother's were always typed prayers or funeral cards.

I have the strangest collection of old personal articles, like diaries and family bibles. People started bringing them to me at one point. The archivist of family memories thrown out when a childless aunt dies. My favorite is a five year diary that I bought at an antique store when I was 15. I felt wrong about it but reasoned that if anyone else should have it, it was me. Her name was Anna Ireland and she lived in Michigan, the five years were in the early 1930s. At first she wrote faithfully every day in a cramped and spidery hand, talking about her sisters and trips to the market and her brother's friend Bill, I think. She was in love with him and the first few months of entries are so tortured and full of every detail of their extremely brief encounters. She painted such a clear picture of her predicament, watching him fretfully from a parlor window, wishing he would just come inside so she could pretend to be surprised yet indifferent. She talks about sitting in his lap one night and then there aren't many entries. Months or a year later, there is one entry, "Bill and I are married." After that, just one entry per year on their anniversary. The first year is happy, the second is worried - he is very sick with something - then no more. Poor Anna.

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