Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Treasures from the Past

I've only found a few things in the used books that I collect for my library of classic fiction. So far, only 3 that I can think of.

1) Five $20 bills tucked into my $40 copy of Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment"

2) A New Rochelle to New York train schedule from 1974 used as a bookmark in a copy of Philip Roth's "Portnoy's Complaint". On the back is an ad for a realtor in Pelham, New York. (Which for synchronicity points made me think of a great Matthau movie, "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three" which was also from 1974.)

3) Last weekend, I was in a small town bookstore and picked up a 1954 copy of "The Scotswoman" by Inglis Fletcher. Tucked away in the middle of the book for hiding (like the money) rather than marking one's place was a letter. It had been mailed a long time ago because it was stamped in red, "Postage & Fees paid U.S. Department of Justice". The return address was a PO Box in Leavenworth, Kansas. It was in fact a letter from prison from an uncle to his niece.

Sun March 31st

Hi Kate -

Just a few lines to let you know I've arrived at my final destination. What a drag. Thank God I have only a short time to be here - am scheduled for the camp program - after spending 15 - 30 days inside these walls for orientation. Have already started to exercise and can feel the weight leaving me - Thank God - had to remove my beard which distressed me to no end - but it'll grow again. By the way, no matter what happens to Bill (if anything) while I'm away just tell Lucille you have no idea where I am - that you think I'm living in Calgary, Canada - that's way up in the wilds and I'd rather Blondie didn't know where I am. If anything should happen to Bill my presence certainly wouldn't bring him back to earth. Besides, he's pretty tough and I think he'll be here for a few more years yet. Hope you got all my things put away OK - try to keep my records (my classics) in their covers and ask the children to help. I'm sure they'll be glad to - Ha Ha! All of my addresses were sent home by mistake so I had to guess at your address - Hope George is able to do something with that Tobacco Road trailer. Have several more letters to write so will cut this short. Will write again after I'm out at camp. Say hello to all your family. Hope you got that silver shaker back from John got by mistake. Write if & when you get time - my address for the duration is on the envelope.

Love always from Uncle Bob

Goodnight Bob, Goodnight Kate, Goodnight Mrs. Fletcher and Goodnight Walter.


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