Friday, September 2, 2011
It’s hereditary. As I’ve reached a certain age, I’ve realized this tendency has been handed down from generations.
One of the most interesting books I’ve ever had the pleasure of exploring was my late grandfather’s journal. I never knew the man. He died when my mother was just eighteen years old. This journal has survived, however, as a precious look into a man who is otherwise known only through my mother’s stories.
While the words he wrote are priceless, I found the myriad of little things stuck into the pages to be just as revealing. He had a fondness for tucking things into the pages or inside the covers - train ticket stubs, notes, photos, letters and whatnot. The book holds a small treasure trove of bits he thought important enough to keep.
My mother is the same way and now I too, find my appointment books and planners stuffed with things I want to keep or need to remember. Nothing is there because of some earth-shattering significance that I hope future generations will discover. Nah. The stuff is just the minutia of everyday living.
I’m sure most of us who tuck things into books think nothing of it. In fact, there’s a fellow named Michael Popek who has created a website about the things people leave behind in books. He works in a used bookshop and has the unique opportunity to sift through old tomes. His website, forgottenbookmarks.com, features the items he has gathered as a result.
I found the website fascinating, probably because I can both relate to the people who squirreled away things in books and because I really enjoy the treasure-hunt aspect of finding something unexpectedly.
What about you? Do you have a favorite bookmark or are you like me — a person who grabs the nearest thing handy to mark your place?