Tuesday, April 20, 2021



When I first started blogging,

 one of my posts was about books

 from my mother's library (here)

that are now in mine. 

 I don't know how old 

some of these books are

 although she had

 marked 1948 in one of them, 

I just know that 

my mom was an avid reader 

and as far back as memory serves,

 I can see her sitting in her favorite chair,

 a book opened on her lap 

with a bobby pin marking her place.  

I think I have inherited that trait,

 although the coming of the age of television

 has dampened my indulgence somewhat.

In those days, before computers,

 there were only a few ways

 that a person could 

find out pertinent information. 

 There were trips to the library,

 there was the teacher in the classroom,

 and there were your elders

 whose minds held much of the information

 that you needed to know.  

Of course, it depended on 

what kind of books you had access to 

and what kind of information 

you got from them.  

My mom's books were mostly fiction, 

romantic novels probably written

 for women's eyes only.

 There wasn't too much knowledge

 to be gained from them

 if a school paper was due.

  For those kinds of projects 

there were encyclopedias

 and that is where this story plays out.

Back in the day, 

and I can remember as far back 

as my elementary school years, 

there were jobs that fell into

 the category of "sales".  

These were not sales

 as we know them now

 in Home Depot and places like that 

but sales that were made, 

in person,

 between you and the salesman 

from your very own living room couch.  

There were numerous products 

sold this way

 and one of the biggest and most expensive 

were books 

that were touted as must haves

 for your child's education.  

The Book of Knowledge

 was one of the most well known.

My parents spent time on the couch

 deciding which set of books to buy

 so that myself, my sister and brother,

 could have a well rounded education,

 and when certain information 

in those books became outdated,

 there was always the "annual" 

you could purchase at the end of a year, 

to bring it all up to speed. 

In the above photo 

you see my Dad 

with many of their purchases 

in the bookshelves behind him. 

The Book of Knowledge, in red covers,

 on the very top shelf.

When the Captain and I

 started our family, 

we also were inundated 

with these door-to-door visits. 

Looking back

It seemed as though

 those times were the forerunner

 to today's robo-calls. 

 We did buy a set of books

 (and a vacuum cleaner and pots and pans, but that is a story for another time) 

that are still lined up on 

Tami and Tim's book shelves, 

left with them so Jake 

could have access to 

the knowledge of the world. 

 Of course, by that time, 

computers were here 

and no one has ever looked back.

When my parents left their home, 

I was the recipient of the

 Collier's Encyclopedia set.  

This set was published in 1921.

  I don't know

 when my parents purchased this set 

but it probably was in 

the late 20's or early 30's. 

 It had been a part of their library 

as long as I can remember,

way before any of those salesmen

 that I was aware of 

had knocked on the door. 

 Although I never thought about it then, 

the reason I chose 

to bring the set home with me 

was because of the covers and bindings which appeared to be 

hand tooled leather

 in a rich warm butterscotch coloring.  

They are a very impressive set of books,

 but then, as my parents before me, 

I placed them on the

 very top of the bookshelf 

where they couldn't be seen to advantage 

or to be read, for that matter.

One day, it dawned on me

 that they could be a 

beautiful part of the decor

 at the Cottage,

 so we brought them down, 

dusted and oiled the covers, 

and now they grace the parlor mantel. 

 The covers and text

 are still in pristine condition 

but the spines are darkened 

from being exposed

 over a period of what

 could be close to 100 years.

The end pages are done

in a beautiful

gold, mottled marblelized effect.

I think the salesman

that sold them to my parents

would be surprised

that not only were they a teaching tool

(obviously, but I don't ever remember using them)

but an elegant decoration as well.

I wonder if any of you 

remember the days

 when door-to-door salesmen, 

as they were known,

 trudged up to your home's front door, 

pedaling heavy books 

so that you might become 

a world's scholar?

Stay Smart

Stay Well

Get Your Vaccines

Wear Your Mask


Right after writing this post, 
we happened to see the sweetest movie
 on Amazon Prime called
 The Bookshop.

"When we read a story we inhabit it.
  The cover of a book is like the roof and four walls of a house. 
 More than anything else in the world,
 I love the moment when you finish a book
 and the story keeps playing like a dream in your head."

These were the words of a young widow
 who follows her lifelong dream
 of opening a bookshop in a 1950 English town.

We enjoyed this movie so much
 and thought you might too.

Sharing today with:

Love Your Creativity



  1. My grandparents had encyclopedias and so did my parents. My parents subscribed to a book club for me in which I could choose 2 books per month, not to mention the Highlights children's magazine. I subscribed to that for my own children. With the age of computers books have lost their luster, however we do sell children's books in our gift shop and sell lots. Janice

    1. Thanks so much, Janice. I have so many books from when I subscribed to a club. I still read a lot, but my kids introduced me to Kindle and I admit I have gotten used to it, it is so convenient, but I do miss the feel of holding a real book so have to get one occasionally. We gave Jake books when he was young, I think it is so important..Stay well..xxoJudy

  2. Hi Judy,
    Oh your parents had wonderful books! I am a, um, book-a-holic I guess you could call me and the older the better.. I just went to the town yard sale last weekend and picked up three old books from a woman who emigrated here last year from South Africa... And yes, I remember the days of the door to door salesmen. In my day (1970's) it was mostly vacuum cleaners and the ever notable "encyclopedia Britannica" and yes our parents bought a set. Wish I still had them. I LOVE what you did with the books at the cottage. They are PERFECT there!

    1. Thanks so much, Robyn. I love looking for books at yard sales. I seem to mostly look for colors and prints rather than stories now, but sometimes I find one that I read as a young girl. I always loved Albert Payson Terhune back then (1950's) stories about his collie dogs. I found one (Lad A Dog) that I had read way back then but it was a library book so now I have a copy. Such fun..Stay well..xxoJudy

  3. World Book Encyclopedia
    Love this blog

    1. Thanks for your kind words, Brenda. Yes, World Book Encyclopedia was one of the popular ones. I wish I could remember all of the names that were on my parent's bookshelves. I think there was Book of Popular Science too..Stay well..xxoJudy

  4. I love this post, Judy, so filled with warm reminiscences of your growing up (and wonderful family photos, too!) I don't know that I remember traveling book salesmen. But if I was at school, who would know? We had the World Book. It's interesting to look at older encyclopedias, before so many things changed. THey do make wonderful decor. What gorgeous bindings!

    1. Thanks so much, Jeanie. I think they are very pretty and deserve to be on display. Hope you are enjoying sprint time..Stay well..xxoJudy

  5. World Book Encyclopedia, gently used. I wonder what our sons will do with the set when we are gone?

    1. Thanks so much, Joyce. My memory is of the Book of Knowledge. That was the go to one for me. I don't know what happened to that set that my dad had but I guess, at that point, I was just into the "pretty". I wonder what our kids will do with a lot of things that were important to us at one time..Stay well..xxoJudy

  6. Hi Judy,
    The movie sounds wonderful. I remember the door to door salesman when I was growing up. My parents bought Encyclopedia Britannica's for us to use. My brother still has them in his collection of books. We had a milkman, mailman and the door to door salesmen that sold everything from books to vacuums to cleaning supplies. We also had the Avon lady. Most women did not work back then so they were home and these salesmen did very well. I remember my mom sitting in the living room listening to so many sales pitches and then buying things. Happy Wednesday. xoxo Kris

    1. Thanks so much, Kris. I remember them all also. In fact, I was an Avon Lady when the kids were just little. I had such a collection of Avon bottles for awhile but sold them all eventually. When I worked for the school, there was always an Avon catalog on the table in the break room but I don't think they go door to door anymore..All great memories and wonder where all that time went!..Stay well..xxoJudy

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  8. Oh such great memories Judy! My parents bought Encyclopedia Britannica and we had it on our shelves for years and years.. all 4 of us sisters used them alot for our school papers. I loved looking at them as the pages were glossy and the photos beautiful. They also bought orange books, a set, but I can't remember the name. It was A Child's Book of Fairytales I think. that was one. There was a set and each one was A Child's Book of (something) and can't remember. some were for learning, some were wonderful stories and tales, and not sure of the others. I loved the book of fairytales and read it so much! I kept that one when my parents passed, and have it stored in a tub somewhere in my garage. I used to read it all the time of MY two boys when they were little, and they loved it. Someday, my son will inherit it and I'm sure he'll remember those stories. I also belonged to a book club in school and LOVED going through the pamphlet every week (or month?) and ordering books. It was pure joy! I still use the library and not my Kindle. I love libraries. And so much information there. yes that is where we got our information for everything, back in the 50's, 60's and 70's.. how to build a house, how to garden, how to quilt, how to sew, everything! My mom's 2nd cousins both worked at the Portland (Oregon) huge library downtown. They had collected many very old and valuable? maybe? books through their years there. I still have a few but not sure their worth. Needless to say, I still love books! Still have some of my Nancy Drew books from when I was a child, and the Bobsey Twins!

    1. Thanks so much, Marilyn. Sad to say I haven't been to the library in years, not since my kids were little but I did inhabit a lot of book stores when Jake came along. I would have loved to had the fairytale books but The Book of Knowledge did have some wonderful old tales in it. I think I read those more than anything that could make me smarter. Not that I didn't need it!..Stay well..xxoJudy

  9. I love stopping by here, you ALWAYS put a warm smile on my face, the care and thought you put into all your posts is enchanting. I'm an avid reader, have been all my life so you touched a nerve. I do remember the salesmen, and my brother had the world book encyclopedia set in his room and read them all cover to cover. Thanks for the fond memories!

    1. Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed the post and thanks always for your kind visits and I love coming around to you also. I have to go someplace to see the most beautiful flowers..Stay well..xxoJudy

  10. Dear Judy! We have had such a similar upbringing, Judy. My mom was an avid antique collector, and we had three bookstores in my hometown and she was on a first name basis with each of their owners looking for research books. My favorite store carried all the Nancy Drews, and early paperbacks. And, she had a trade-in section for kids to bring their books in and for a small fee trade-up! Smart lady encouraging reading. We also had a book mobile in the summer that stopped for an entire day, two blocks from our house. Our encyclopedia was purchased from my 5th grade teacher (her summer job) and I used them extensively through my school years. I would stay two weeks a year at my aunt's house who bought best sellers. And way before I should have, I read Raintree County, Peyton Place, In Cold Blood, Michener, and Pearl Buck's books. My cousins were older and had jobs, so I was basically alone for two weeks with all those books. What a joy! Loved this post, the photos, the content, and yes...holding a book is the only way to really read---there are three on my nightstand right now! Hugs, Sandi

    1. Thanks so much, Sandi. I am laughing while reading and now typing this. What I left out in my post was that on numerous occasions on those trips to the library, I would sneak into the adult section and find a book that was way beyond my years (or should have been) because I had my own library card, my mom would never see what I got except the Lad, the Dog, and My Friend Flicka books! I love your story, and although I do read my kindle (my kids are all about the "new" technology) if was a gift from them, but every once in awhile I just have to buy a book. That is one of the hard things about this pandemic, not going into the store myself so that I can pick one up every once in awhile, but there is always Amazon!..Stay well..xxoJudy

  11. Judy,
    Your collection of books is wonderful and I love how you displayed them and how they look!! So charming!! I will look for that movie and will definitely put it on my watch list..Thanks for sharing and thanks for visiting!!! Stay safe, healthy and happy!!

    1. THanks so much, Deb. I hope you do watch the movie and like it. We both thought it was really a cute show..xxoJudy

  12. My husband and I try to explain to the kids what it was like to write a paper back in the day (and by that I mean the early 90's!!). The internet was not a thing, and we had to go to the library for research or crack an encyclopedia. Of course, we had to define that word for them!! When I was growing up, my mom had wallpaper that looked like bookshelves above our fireplace. It was magical and I memorized all the book title names pictured there. Thanks for the movie recommendation. We may watch it tonight!! xo

    1. Thanks so much, Kim. I know I answered you the other way, but I can't with some others so didn't want them to think I was leaving you out..haha..xxoJudy

  13. How special to have your parent's books. We used to have an encyclopedia set. Not sure what happened to them. No internet, just black and white tv. Everyone went to the library. Yes, I remember the door to door salesmen. Fuller Brush man, milkman, vacuums and more. Thanks for sharing Judy. Take care. xo

    1. Thanks so much, Linda. I remember all those days and remember thinking they were wonderful. Can you imagine sitting down now in front of a black and white TV?..xxoJudy

  14. Those books are really pretty. Don't forget the Watkins Vanilla salesman. LOL My Dad had bought me a couple different sets of encyclopedias. They weren't as pretty as yours. Mine were printed in the 60's. Internet is both a win and a loss. Can you imagine kids today having to find information in a book but then look how fast they can find that info now.
    Have a great week

    1. Thanks so much, Carla. I do remember Watkins and I think I remember lemonaid mix that my grandmother would make large, cold drinks for us. I have a hard time when trying to find out about something and am told that I can google it. Oh yeah!..xxoJudy

  15. A fellow book-lover! I think your encyclopedias look so pretty on your mantel and I love your Mother's book shelves. I read 'Nicholas and Alexandra' years ago and it really was a good book, but heartbreaking. The day that I finished it was the anniversary of their death. It was spooky. I remember salesmen coming to the door and I think I was one of the last to buy a World Book encyclopedia set for my kids in the 80's right before we ended up buying them a computer when the first Apple computers came out. They did use that encyclopedia, though, for all the reports they had to do in Jr. High, but by high school the encyclopedia sat gathering dust. I still have it and it is leather-bound with gold-leaf edges and looks so pretty on the bookshelf. My Mom was also an avid reader and she belonged to the Reader's Digest book club. I think I read most all of them as a young girl. 'Peyton's Place', 'From Here to Eternity', all the best-seller's of the time. I was probably too young for some of them, but they were fairly sanitized compared to today. The other day I was talking to my daughter on the phone and she was trying to learn a new operating system for her new job and I suggested she look on Amazon for the manual and she scoffed and said, 'Oh, Mom, nobody uses books these days, they just get on U-Tube." Haha! I don't know how all this 'virtual' information is going to get passed down through the generations - I fear it will all be lost someday if we don't cherish and preserve our books. There's something so satisfying about holding a beautiful book and turning the pages - even the scent is wonderful - that you can't get on a computer screen. One thing I am glad about, though. No more salesmen showing up at the door. They just invade every electronic device now! Wonderful post, as always, dear Judy. Hope you have a lovely week filled with good books and spring sunshine. Hugs xo K

    1. Thanks so much, Karen. I know that I answered you in a different format, but I still have most everyone else coming to me as a no reply blogger. Don't know what the difference is but in case there are ones who really do come back to read these, now they will know why some don't seem to be answered from now on..xxoJudy


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