Blue Skies, Smirking At Me | Newberry

Blue Skies, Smirking At Me

“I have nothing against your stuffed ostrich: we just don’t want dead birds at our Book Fair. I had enough trouble with that warthog tusk.”

“I’m not offering you my ostrich: not with Memorial Day weekend coming up. I just wondered where I’d look for dead birds if you had any at the Book Fair. Would they be in Nature or Science or what?”

“At the price I’m charging, they’d be in Collectibles.”

“Why such a high price?”

“We all know dead birds don’t go cheep.”

We will now observe a short intermission for moaning and gnashing of teeth.

I was going on in the last column about some of the unusual donations we have received during what is apparently going to become a Smurf Week, if not a full Smurf Month, and there were too many for one shot. So I felt you needed to know about some of the other things you may be seeing at the Big Thirtieth Book Fair (unless the donors feel remorse and take them back.)

We have received a lovely pair of candlesticks, carefully wrapped in bubblewrap…with tall and completely unused candles still in them. We have been given two large art prints framed under glass. The glass is very important, as it kept any of the water from draining out before the prints were utterly ruined. I may toss the prints and sell the glass.

A company in Chicago leapt into action in 1941 and produced a little pocket notebook called “My Time In the Service”. It was meant to be a sort of diary or sketchbook, but this corporal used it as a notebook. The few entries are dated in 1942 and 1943 under the heading “Story Ideas” I don’t know if he was a reporter, an aspiring novelist, or a would-be screenwriter. More research is obviously necessary. I DOUBT that he changed his name to J.D.Salinger or Norman Mailer after the war, but I’d just like to make sure.

We’ve been given a nice little collection of those children’s books made of durable, washable cloth, dating to between the World Wars. Naturally, the original owners have managed to take some of these nearly indestructible volumes and reduce them to tatters, but others are in very nice shape, with bunnies and puppies still smiling hopefully at another generation. As usual, the instructional and inspirational ones are in almost pristine condition. The ABC books fared the worst, and I HOPE I have put them all back together properly. Yes, I can tell what ORDER the pages go in, but how do I tell whether A was for Airplane in this book where B is for Ball, or whether A is for Apple goes with that one and the Airplane goes to the one where B is for Bear? Maybe I should put all the pages into a bag and call it a Do-It-Yourself Collectible.

The same collection involved a Genuine original Mickey Mouse book from about 1930. (Well, maybe 80 percent of the book, and some masking tape that I think was added later.)

Running out of room, so I can only briefly touch on the collection of dorm room photos from the 70s which prove the decade wasn’t ALL about marijuana, the sculpture which is supposed to be people dancing but you have to be thinking that when you look at it or it seems to be blobs of clay at a sack race, and the collection of Genuine Facsimile Newspaper Headlines. (I hate Fake Facsimile Newspapers.) Oh, and that iPod does fire up and has files on it, but we have to figure out how to use it. It IS, after all, from 2001, and no one’s old enough to remember how those antiques work.


Was wondering if you carried Newberry Library book bags for purchase? My son is getting married there and I thought it would be a great hotel gift for guests.

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