March 15th, 2013
I am currently opening and shelving 16 boxes of donated books to the High School library from the Books for Africa project. As I examine each book for cataloguing I am having a great time discovering the remains of many book exchanges. Its just amazing how much information a book can leave behind from its onetime owners. I have found so many things within the pages of these books, its like buried treasure: receipts, greeting cards, scratch paper with scribbled notes, and even a dollar bill (I pocketed that one). And of course there are all the messages scrolled on the first pages that caption a moment in a person’s life; birthdays, Christmases, graduations, deaths, its seems anything can be said with a book. It’s sad, in a way to think, about these one-time gifts no longer holding meaning to the receiver.
Today I was reading a message from Jon to Karen in a book that was given by Jon to Karen for her birthday with many XOs after his signature. I read the message out loud to Addy and we quickly developed an entire plot line of Karen and Jon’s life; what significance the book meant and why it ended up in a donation box in Southern Africa. Basically Jon did Karen wrong and the book was too painful for her to keep, all those XOs were just too powerful.
It really makes you think twice before writing that nice, private, message in a gifted book. Someday, somewhere, someone else is going to read it. Probably a Peace Corps Volunteer, so feel free to keep forgetting your buried away dollars, and know that out of sheer boredom and craziness from high heat exposure, we will over analyze your message. I only have 6 more boxes to go, and one is textbooks so that will be no fun, but I can’t wait for what else I find within the pages to come!