Missing | Newberry


I have occasionally used this space to HINT at things I wish you wouldn’t do: pack books in banana boxes, leave us garbage bags full of LPs, bring donations which can be smelled half a block away…things like that. Of course, I know that YOU, bright-eyed blog fan, are not the type to ignore these requests. The miscreants are certainly people who do not read blogs. If they weren’t giving us books, I would question whether they can read at all. I write of such people—serial non-readers of Uncle Blogsy’s words of wisdom—more in sorrow than in anger.

But something is happening so frequently that it surely cannot be the fault just of those nine or ten people who do not rush to the computer to read this blog. I KNOW I have begged people not to do this, and it happens so often that I am sure even you, fried marshmallow fluff, must be among the guilty, and I want you to CUT IT OUT. NOW.

STOP giving us only the first half of the story.

The crew here have enquiring minds, barbecued macaroni. You give us the first installment and then cut us off from the conclusion. How can we concentrate on sorting these books on individualismality if you won’t….

BABY: We’re glad your parents gave you books on your birthday. Any good parent should. And I like the inscriptions: “Baby, Here’s your Birthday Book. Mom and Dad.” Short and to the point.

Why are they all books on buying and selling stocks? Were you a fledgling broker, and they wanted to give you tools? Or were you actually a performance artist creating landmark work in trampolines and Neapolitan ice cream, and they wanted to hint you toward something that would provide for you when they were not around to provide an allowance and/or bail money?

DOCTOR: Your collection impresses us. The books in Spanish, which run from Murphy’s law II to Paradise Lost, will be a draw next July. People will be enthralled by the opportunity to buy Gustave Flaubert and Nora Roberts in Spanish translation.

But, um, this cheap little cookbook, the kind given away with cookware, to make the happy housewife even happier? It’s charming, with its Fifties graphics, looking just like all the others. But we’ve never had one before from Argentina. Throws off my whole understanding of “Evita”.

CARL: Oh, Carl, how COULD you? I present in its entirety the note you left in Volume V of the 1925 edition of Automotive Engineering, so you can see what you’ve done to our peace of mind.

“This book belongs to a man named Orval Davis. Last seen about June 1, 1931. went to lane__Possibly stopped? Perhaps joined the Navy? Spoke of Doing So.

Lived on Sunny Side Av. And Lincoln St. Chicago Ill. A wooden 2 story building, painted yellow or a Dark Dark Red. If possible Try and get in touch with him.

Carl [last name withheld]

No. of House is ___ Sunny Side Ave.”

You can NOT leave us with that, Carl. Why was it so important to get Orval’s book back to him? Did you find him? For all we know, it was Orval’s descendants, not yours, who dropped the book off. What Holmesian detective hunt was required before you found him, Carl? Or did you in fact travel across the country, book in hand, always hearing as you reached port that his ship had already sailed? There are notes in the margins of the volume (which deals with the electrical equipment in a gasoline powered automobile) to tell us anything. At the very least, Carl, you could have dated the note, so we could know if you started looking in 1932, 1946, or 1961.

Sure, we can sell the book without plumbing the tragedy of how Carl managed with only five volumes of a six volume set. But something will always be missing. Don’t try to tell me Orval went off to Argentina to deliver cookware to found the fortunes of Baby’s parents. Endings like that sometimes work in books. Not at Book Fairs.

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