Not to pretend that my posts are ever the result of laser-like focus, I'd still like to warn you in advance that this particular post is especially random and off-topic.
As most of you have tried very hard to forget, I work at a bookstore in a very small town. My days are spent in awkward extremes: I answer emails and handle customer service for our thriving online business selling new books, as well as working with "vintage" (used!) and "antique" (very used!) books that are traded and donated to the store. I won't lie... it's an incredibly glamorous life. One minute, I'm trying to explain to an elderly lady in HorseShoe Bend, Idaho that her recently purchased e-Book will not be coming in the mail anytime soon. Then a little later, I'm rummaging through a rat-chewed box of dilapidated estate-sale books donated by a grunting family of non-reading locals who insist that "ain't nobody gonna read that stuff 'cause it's boring."
And, to be fair, a lot of it is boring. But! Sometimes, there are lovely, dusty old books with the scent of sweetly aging paper. And sometimes, those wonderful old books settle into your open palm like a broody bird on a nest, and fall open with something akin to a sigh. And sometimes (more often than you'd think), something secret and sacred, committed in elegant spirals of ink upon crisp paper will flutter to the floor. I love the things people tuck inside of books. It's a such a human habit! We can't help ourselves. I've found money, love notes, wedding photos, divorce decrees, car titles, ultra-sound pictures, movie tickets, playing cards, post cards, speeding tickets, hair bows, canned food labels, handkerchiefs, swizzle sticks, canceled stamps and more. My favorites, though, are old letters.
For those of you who are still with me, what follows is a transcription of a letter I found this week inside of an 1880's children's book. It features hot n' heavy talk of family flannel-drawer making (including a pair for "Budgie" the dog?). I hope you enjoy it! (And for the quitters who can't face another wall of text, see you next time!)
I am commencing thy letter with Budgie in my lap. He got hurt and feels as though he is a baby. Pa had just come home from [the] mill and he got in the hack and was on top of the sacks and slipped some way and almost fell out but hit on the wheel and cut a gash about an inch long just over the outer part of his right eye. It has bled a good deal and yet almost 2 hours since it happened is bleeding some yet. And now he has got ink all over my paper. So thee can play that is a kiss from him to thee.
Anna brought her books home this evening and isn't going to Brushwood any more. But will start to No. 1 I suppose and Emma wanted to stop to[o] and the other girls wanted to know if they might stop of Brushwood if Emma did. I told them they could but Emma would not stop. And so that nipped it all in the bud.
The Academy is having a boom this fall. I believe they have seventy pupils now. The largest number they ever had during one term. I guess I will have enough cider left to make all the pickles thee can eat for one while. I have made 1 1/2 gallons of mixed pickles and nearly 3 of Margo's and am going to make pickle lilly yet.
I got a letter from Uncle Ed the other day. He says he is very poorly and Lind has been out lately and Bruce is going to Lind's and study Telegraphy and Iona is going to school at Deming, and there was a picture of Mark in his wagon and his goats hitched to it. It looks very much like him.
And Uncle Ed said that he would watch out for thee a place. He is Principal of a ward school and has seven teachers under him. Their baby's name is Georgie. We have pumpkins like every thing. Sallie brought up three wagon loads this afternoon and there had been about 2 loads brought up before.
How are thy canton flannel drawers? I never thought to ask about them when thee was at home. We are in the business this week. We have made Pa two pairs today also Emma the same number. We wanted to make for Mary, Grace, Jessie and myself yet and make some for Budgie.
If thee has money enough I guess thee had better get thee a gossamer. I intended to have got thee one during the summer, but thee knows when we went to town what a time we would have spending money. I wish thee would come home every morning and comb my hair. Then I would give thee thy breakfast in exchange. Well I have about run out of anything to say and will close for this time. We will bring Mary home sixth day. We have about a bushel of walnuts and peck of hickory nuts. Don't know whether we will get any more or not.