Sunday, March 29, 2009

My Thing for Books - and my Emotional Ride

Ever since I can remember, I have had a fascination with type, fonts, and books. I can't explain why really - I don't read as much as I should (blogs and magazines dont count), my parents are not readers and the only person I remember as a reader during my childhood was my Grandmother. She, however, always had harlequin type paperbacks by the side of her bed and we got in trouble if we even got near them (and their seductive covers)!!! But I digress.

So, today, I had a chance to go the the flea market and was instantly drawn, as usual to the boxes of old books. I am always still fascinated by the fancy binding (especially the gold lettering), the different font types, and most of all, the embossed covers. I love it when a french book has notes, when there is sentiment to/from on the cover, or the beautiful school taught penmanship of the past that we all sigh over deep inside. Plus, the fact that leather was used to present a book still seems somewhat magical to me. Any how, I have had to narrow my collection to anything as close to 1900, and if possible, to certain colors. I thought I would share with you some of my collection.

My oldest book is this little school Grammer booth from 1823....isnt it beautiful?

So - the best thing about garage sales is taking the time to learn about each piece. I thought my 1823 book was the crown of my collection - however, she has been temporarily replaced. Today I stopped at a sale here in Roseville. Nice family, lots of books - newer. But in the stacks and stacks, I found this little childrens book with tons of character - it was only $1.

As I checked its date and started to pay for it, I noticed a stamp inside: St. Marys Orphanage Galveston. The book was dated 1900. My heart began to sink. I told you I dont read much but the ONE book I have been reading lately, to my kids for history class is Isaacs Storm by Erik Larson. This book is a history of the worst storm in American history - the hurricane of 1900 that wiped out the town of Galveston, Texas. Some of you may know about it. If you dont, its a story of the perfect storm and the story of Isaac, the US Weatherman stationed in Galveston and how the storm was missed. After the storm, you could imagine the life lost. The worst story was that of the orphans and the nuns of St. Marys drowned in the rising water and how they were found. I am welling up writing this - you will need to go out and find out how they were found because I cant write it without crying. The book that I found today was published the year of the storm, prior to the storm and somehow, survived the storm. To think the nuns read to the children from this book really hits my heart. I talked it over with the my family after showing it to them and the book will stay with me only until I can get it back to Texas somehow. By the way, the gentleman I bought was from Galveston. His father was carried on the grandfathers back in the flood waters to safety as they survived the 1900 storm. He started to cry this morning telling me the story. And yes, I did ask to leave the book behind but he refused it knowing I knew the history of the orphans and St. Marys. I never knew my love of books would take me on such an emotional ride but you never know the history you carry in your home. Take the time and meet the people you buy from - everything has a story.

16 comments:

Gail said...

What a great post! I'm always looking for a great read, and the history of your book find is amazing...I used to live in Texas and have vacationed in Galveston...and I'm also somewhat fascinated with weather stories like this one, can't wait to read the book.
What exactly will you do with your historic find?
Gail

The Tattered House said...

Gail - I am trying to find out who to send it back to..either the Sisters of Charity or a Texas History Museum of somesort. Anyone from Texas have any thoughts?

Constance said...

Thank you for for the posting about your wonderful books. I love old books as well. I am familiar history of the 1900 Galveston hurricane but I had not read about the orphanage and those poor lost children. Thank you again for sharing.

lorhen82 said...

I so relate to your love of books. Some of yours are very similar to the ones I have. That's quite a history you shared with us. I was not familiar with that tragic story. ~Lori

bella shabby said...

It's been years since I had read about the Galveston flood , I don't remember about the orphanage so I'm going to have to get that book again. Your little treasure has such history , I can see why it would pull at your emotions. Just thinking that it was actually held by the nuns. Thank you for sharing. Sue

Joy said...

What a truly amazing story. Thanks so much for sharing it with us despite the tears that it brings with the telling.

Linda said...

I love old books, too! I bought one in Paris for $15 that was dated in the 1700's. It is the oldest thing we own and I love it!
I wish I had the collection that you do - it's wonderful! Linda

This And That For Sale said...

What an amazing story, and an amazing find. I'm a Houstonian and used to spend many weekends in Galveston. I haven't been back since Hurricane Ike's wrath, but I will definitely return.

If you need any contact information in your effort to get the little book back to Galveston, I'm also a freelance journalist and can help you if you need assistance.

I can do some calling around for you, if that will help. I'm currently in Florida, but will head home this week.

Check out my profile for my email address.

xinex said...

You sure have a neat old book collection!...Christine

Candy said...

What a neat find to go along with history class. I love old books too.
Thanks for stopping by my Rock.
Blessings, Candy

Alicia Robbins said...

Thanks you for sharing this story with those of us who had no idea. I love history and especially the stories of what people did and why they did what they did. There are too many to ever have heard them all. Thank you again.
Have a Lovely Day~
Alicia

jackieb said...

Like a little history lesson on a blog :} What a sad but wonderful story. I am always amazed at the stories that are all around us if we just take the time to "listen".

I know we have not heard the last of this story...can't wait to hear about the book's trip back to Texas.

thanks for sharing, jackie

Debbi said...

what a wonderful post--I too am anxious to hear the books journey back to Texas!

Angie said...

What an interesting post.

I completely understand your fascination with books. I'm mildly obsessed with the smell of the paper in the books. Some paper just smells better than others.

Leigh of said...

I read so much of your blog today. I just love it, and even subscribed as a follower. Thanks so much for droppig by my blog and commenting. It is my roadmap to your blog. I love new friends! Happy day!

English Cottage in Georgia said...

Oh my,...talk about "history alive". What an awesome find and great presentation to students. How fortunate that you were aware of it's significance.