Gratitudinity | Newberry


I suppose this is a good time to pause in the rush of the year toward the most important holiday of all (Black Friday) and think of things to be all thankful about. Of COURSE, your Uncle Blogsy is thankful for all those of you who will remember that we are LOCKED UP TIGHT on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and not pile books up on Lampe Landing. Do NOT come looking for Black Friday sales at the Rosenberg Bookshop: it’s closed on Black Friday (and, anyhow, the prices are nifty every day it’s open. Something to be thankful for when you start your December shopping.)

I am very thankful for this record collection, which I have finally finished. Not only did it bring me Strawberry Snow and the Radio Master Canaries, but I have also turned up a single by Walt Kelly (telling one of his children’s stories in the person of P.T. Bridgeport from his comic strip, Pogo), a single dealing with Wishniks (no one I’ve met remembers this—nor do I—but those long-haired Troll dolls were, for a brief period, known as Wishniks), and a special Snow White album on which Disney released not the musical numbers but the entire soundtrack. So if your other watching devices are on the fritz, you can put on these records and imagine Dopey dancing with Snow White.

I am thankful that all the new restrooms on the first floor are now operational. This may not matter much in your life, but the ones which have finally been put in working order are the closest to where the restrooms were before the Great Renovation. Each week or so, some soul appears looking for these, and we always had to tell them to turn around and go to the other end of the new first floor. And during the Book Fair, you rapscallions who come to the Newberry just once a year and don’t understand the renovation can find relief where you always used to find it.

I am grateful for this donation from the estate (I assume) of a collector who was so enamored of his collection that he stamped each book in his special subject area with a five-line stamp verifying that this book was from the collection of…and he would leave a blank where he signed his name. No rubber-stamped signature for him: ANYONE could fake a rubber stamp, and pretend that this or that book came from his collection, but without his signature, it would be forever marked as a phony. You have to admire collection confidence like that. (Almost none of his books have been terribly valuable, but maybe he kept the really good ones, or convinced his heirs to hang onto the expensive items. Though I am intrigued by this turn-of-the-last-century study on aboriginal smoking habits. If I can find one mention of cannabis, it’ll be trendy.)

I would be a fiend of ingratitude were I not grateful for our elevator repair folks, not only because they are bringing the Newberry’s transit system up to snuff, but also because they left a huge spool on the loading dock. Another person, for whom I am similarly grateful, has put our new Donation Sign (ditto about being grateful) on top of this spool, not only making the sign more visible, but giving a kind of Christmas tree display to it, with lots of room underneath for all you to leave presents. (Since the sign is blue and white, it adds to the inclusiveness of our giving holidays.)

And, as always, I am grateful for having a job that lets me meet interesting people, records, and books. Getting those donations really is like opening presents every day (even if sometimes, it’s a “Socks and underwear again?” kind of surprise.) I’m not right behind the dock door these days, so I can’t thank you personally, but remember, I am thanking you quietly in my own basement way when I see what you’ve brought.

And, by the way, I am not going to be IN the basement for the next four days, so I will be especially grateful if you stay HOME for the HOLIDAYS until next week. (Hey, next Tuesday is Giving Tuesday: you can give us books when you drop by to give us a check. Just a thought.)

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