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,
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
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in those books became outdated,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.
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?
Get Your Vaccines
Wear Your Mask
Sharing today with: