I had rather thought that the little booklet about “Waging War on Toenail Fungus” would be the champion “ewwww” title of the year, but a perfectly cheerful little item intended for the How To section seems to have surpassed it. I don’t have an “ewwww” section, since “ewwww” is in the eye (or stomach) of the beholder, but if I did, I would have to display this little book about “Crafting with Cat Hair” front and center. (Really, you know, I don’t know what all the nose-wrinkling is about: cat hair is, after all, a natural renewable resource.)
So far, June has been an up and down month: it’s been requests to drive halfway across the state to pick up old sets of encyclopedias and it’s been the mass delivery of books on Joan of Arc. I’m starting to yearn for the good old days of April when it was six Ellis Peters paperbacks, a Georgette Heyer, and The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
Somebody sent us three BOXES of books on Abraham Lincoln—mainly nonfiction, though Gore Vidal and Honore Morrow put in their appearances. A few Carl Sandburgs were mixed in, along with one book which called him the Lincoln of Our Literature, and a play based on his writing of the books about Abe. No Lincoln autographs so far, but hope springs eternal. This is Illinois, after all, part of his old stomping grounds.
Somebody else brought us three pairs of sandals—very well worn. I know why we got these, and there’s no need to scorn the donors. They were sorting bags of things to take to Goodwill and the Newberry, and they just forgot which was which and piled books in on top of the sandals. I suppose the rest of their shoes got piled in on top of the books signed by Abraham Lincoln, and went to Goodwill. (In which case, you will see those on eBay, where Goodwill has a major presence.)
We have been given a stack of Games Magazine and two large stacks of Playboy. Each will exercise your brain, though I suppose different sections of it. Is it significant that I have probably, in spite of my pleadings and warnings, had a hundred times more National Geographics than Games Magazines and Playboys put together? Does this mean the Newberry’s donors are more likely to subscribe to Geographic than Playboy, or just that they’re more likely to get rid of them?
We have also been given an exceedingly worn pair of shoes, thought they are still in their shoebox. I understand this donation as well, and I suppose we need not sneer at this donor, either, as her attitude is frequently found in people who clean out storage lockers. If they haven’t looked at the books in ten years, they won’t open the boxes and look now. (I get a lot of good, clean fun and profit out of these people but let me give you some confidential advice: open the box and take a look. Time has passed, and you have forgotten about that picture of yourself you sent for the cover of Skokie Swingers Magazine back in ‘82.)
Two Show Biz collections have come in, not particularly large or gaudy but increasing our supply of those nostalgia guides that were all over the place in the 70s: The Films of Clark Gable, the Films of Gene Tierney, the Films of Bette Davis, and on and on and on. No, these haven’t increased in value much, but they’re still fun to look through. We have also been given a few Photoplay editions, including the Gish classic Orphans of the Storm, and Charlie Chan Carries On, which is illustrated with stills from a movie that was lost in a fire on the Warner Brothers lot in the 1930s.
We’ve been given a vintage Clifford Juice Box, too: organic apple. It was tucked in with a bag of children’s books. The expiration date is 10Jul11, but I don’t know if that’s the tenth of July 2011, or the eleventh of July, 2010. Still with its attached straw, and completely unopened. I may decide not to sell this. If it starts to ferment, it’ll be just what we need to toast our success after selling all the rest of that stuff. (Go ahead: buy the sandals. Keeping your toes well aired will probably prevent toenail fungus, and you can always furbish them up with cat hair ornaments.)