It seems 1936 was a very good year for books

When I was in my 20’s and sick in bed there were two books I always read “Little Women” and “Gone With The Wind”.  Why? Because it was easy to just flip through the pages and read the best and favorite parts without having to concentrate too much.

I still have those books, one seems to have once belonged to Mildred Browning and the other belonged to my father.

Now here is the interesting thing – the “Gone with the Wind” was my father’s, and like the Shakespeare, was published in 1936. My father was 21 in 1936 and it seems he was on a book buying binge.

When I opened the book, for the first time in years, I saw that my father had put his name and address on the inside. I have nothing with my father’s handwriting on it and it took me aback when I saw it.

The book is in sad shape and I know I shall never read it again.

But, like the Shakespeare, it shall stay on my shelf for sentimental reasons – I have so little of my father’s – to see his handwriting – it touched me.

White chocolate is NOT chocolate, you know that, right?

I have, in the past, been a devoted customer of  See’s Candy. Not in the warm weather months you understand – shipping costs for chocolate goodies in warm months exceeds the cost of the goodies themselves.

Actually I’m still a devoted customer of See’s but only in the Winter. The great thing about See’s is, besides the fact that it is oh so tasty, you can choose ONLY the ones you like. That’s right kiddies, if all you want is a box of raspberry truffles, that’s what you can order. Me, I like a variety of fruit flavored truffles – raspberry, orange, lemon. And then there is rum nougat, oh heaven. Maple walnut is good too, oh, hell almost everything they offer is supah!

Even better? You can order only DARK CHOCOLATE. There is no excuse for white chocolate to exist and milk chocolate is not far behind in undesirability. Milk chocolate just makes me gag; makes me nauseous. Plus it tastes terrible, it really does. If you are a fan of milk chocolate, you need to get your taste buds checked.

Don’t know why I am on a chocolate rant other than I just got an email from See’s about their latest offerings.

I normally don’t publicly crap all over someone’s personal preferences in food but I have a real blind spot when it comes to chocolate. DARK CHOCOLATE only, seriously.

You want to hear something totally off the wall? There are actually people in the world who don’t like chocolate! Can you imagine? Flabbergasts me too. Maybe the first chocolate they were given was milk chocolate and that just put them off all chocolate, I don’t know. It is sad tho, dontcha’ think?

Here’s a kicker in my case. I am lactose intolerant and I can consume chocolate only in very small portions. Very small. *Sigh* One small piece of solid dark chocolate, and I do mean small, is all I can tolerate. A piece of solid milk chocolate? Instant barf. There is no chocolate bingeing in my life. That’s why I like to treat myself to a custom box of See’s chocolate – my favorites, in dark chocolate, in small enough pieces to be enjoyable without making me sick. There are about 16 pieces of chocolate goodies in a one pound box of See’s – so that box lasts me 16 days – one piece a day. Unless of course I decide to share with my husband, then all bets are off as to how long that box will last.

And then there are cordial cherries – the ones filled with liquor not that gooey white stuff. The best I ever had were from Teuscher’s.  A real cherry, unpitted it turned out, floating in Italian grappa, all encased in the most superb dark chocolate you have ever laid your lips around. Sadly, these are not available via their online stores.  I was lucky enough to have had these just that once when I wandered into a Teuscher’s store in search of champagne truffles and discovered them. Ah, sweet memory.  Cherries, booze, chocolate – damned near died and went to heaven.

I’ve had fun writing this and it has cheered me up – I was feeling a little down and antsy and edgy. But here I am writing about chocolate and not caring what you Dear Reader think about it.  You have different likes and preferences? More power to ya, I don’t care.

(And yes, Snickers comes in dark chocolate. Which is better than nothing but not by much.) 

 

Miscellaneous Mishegoss

~ I’m sitting waiting for the new mattress to be delivered. I’m stop #9, they are currently at stop #7. The mattress we are replacing is only 4 years old but it has gotten ‘mushy’ and the edge support has become non-existent. It was pricey but not eye-poppingly so, this new one? Hoo-boy! But – Same price, or even more, at every place I checked. Plus we actually went into a brick and mortar store to test out mattresses – no more buying on-line, some things you just have to choose in person.

~ Even a mask does not muffle my New York accent – I spent the first 44 years of my life in NYC and the last 31 years NOT in NYC yet the accent persists. Which goes back to a post I wrote some years ago about getting older and reverting to your essential self. My essential self is a little Italian girl from the Bronx.

~ The salesperson tagged the NYC accent and then volunteered that she was South Korean but was educated in the USA – that said, neither my husband nor I could understand half of what she said. (And she was NOT wearing a mask.)

~ I am always amused about how much people don’t know about NYC, including the people who live there and I don’t mean the folks who arrive as adults, I’m talking about folks who are NY’ers born and bred.

I had an argument with a guy I was dating (way back when) about the location of Brooklyn and Queens. We had been out on the Island, either Nassau or Suffolk county, I don’t remember which, and somehow the conversation turned to where exactly we had been and where we were returning. I told the guy – Brooklyn and Queens are on Long Island – he said “No way”.  He was adamant and quite frankly insulting in his insistence. I opened the glove box and he had a map of the tri-state area (this was back in the 80’s when paper maps were still a thing). I told him to pull the car over, which he did, and I then proceeded to prove him wrong and me right.

Map of Long Island

That relationship didn’t last much longer.

People don’t seem to know that NYC is 5 boroughs. The sales person was going on about how NYC had 5 bridges and I’m ticking off the names of bridges until I realized she meant ‘boroughs’. I then tried to give her a quick rundown of how NYC is divided. I don’t know if she got it, and it’s not important if she did or didn’t, it just amused me.

~ My birthday is soon – 8 days from today. I will be 75. I suppose it is what some would deem a milestone birthday, for me it’s just a birthday, I think. I’m somewhat torn about it. I stopped celebrating birthdays a long time ago, I usually celebrated them alone, meaning I was the only one who cared.  I grant you that over the past some years friends have sent flowers and little gifties and that just blows me away. Just turns me into a puddle of tears – I am blessed and I know it.

I was going to go on a shopping spree for my birthday – go to a real shopping mall and shop in real stores but I’ve nixed that idea – it would be a lot of walking and my husband isn’t up to it.  So – no birthday yahoo for me.

As for the number of years – 75? Nah, I’m still only six.

More old books

Growing up, all the books in the house were my father’s.  My mother was not a reader. Certainly as we kids learned to read we had our own books but they were children’s books. I actually don’t remember having books of my own until I was 8 or so.  When I was 4, and could print my name, I got my first library card.

When I was 11 my father signed me up for the children’s Book of the Month Club. That didn’t last long because my father got all pissed that they were sending “baby” books. By the time I was 11 I was reading at high school level (in 6th grade my reading level was 10.6). The only reason I knew I was 11 is because I still have two books from that time – “The Shy Stegosaurus of Cricket Creek” and “The Garden Under the Sea”  and someone wrote my name and the date on the inside of the books.

I started writing stories when I was 8 or so – we were living in Queens and that’s how I date a lot of things – by where we living. Thing was I didn’t know how to write dialogue. I remember that so vividly. I wrote a story about my toys talking to each other and used the playwriting format for conversations between the narrative – like this –

Rabbit: Blah blah blah
Doggie: blah blah blah

I was familiar with plays because one of my father’s books was “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare”. I think the book weighed more than I did and it had – still has because I still have the book – beautiful illustrations. I loved that book but as smart as I was I couldn’t make heads or tails out of Shakespeare.

Somewhere along the line I found the book “Tales of Shakespeare” by William and Mary Lamb. They put the plays into story form for children. Aha! I would read the story then read the play. I’m sure it took many readings before I made sense of it all but I wound up falling in love with Shakespeare. So yeah, I’m 12 years old devouring the old Bard. (And yes, I am predictable – my favorite play is MacBeth. I actually memorized the whole play and acted out all the parts. I spent most of my youth in my room talking to the mirror.)

This will never leave my possession – too many memories…and yes, I do still refer to it when I need to. It won’t take too much more handling, it’s being held together with scotch tape and love.

So here it is – my father’s copy of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare” published 1936 by the Garden City Publishing Company (which was a Doubleday subsidiary that re-printed cheaper editions of Doubleday books.)

Books…

I lead a dull and aimless life. I have nothing but time and a few obligations. Frankly I find those few obligations quite onerous, they do beat one down. Lest you think this is going to turn into a whine, be of good cheer, it isn’t.

What have I been doing lately? A lot of reading. I tried to count up how many books I’ve read so far this year and it looks to be about 80. Have they been great literature? No, not by a long shot. Mostly mysteries/murder/detective type books. Mostly series – I’d read a series straight through – some were only 3 books, some 6, one that I am plowing through now is currently at 63 but I’ve already read the last 25 or so as they came out so I’m just catching up on the first in the series dating back to 1995.

Yes, I’ve read a few novels, but I’m really not much into novels except for Elizabeth Strout of course. I’ve reread 2 of hers this year and I’m waiting for her latest to hit the library – I’ll probably be late to that party and wind up 83rd on the waiting list. Yes, I could just buy the book as I’ve bought all her previous ones but it just seems foolish to buy books – especially at this time of my life. Just more stuff to take up space on the shelf. The odd thing about my buying of books these last few years is that I get the book from the library and then buy a copy after I’ve read it. Seems silly.

I periodically clear out the book shelves – what is the point to keeping books I shall never look at again? I’ve got the Harry Potter books in hardcover – I pre-ordered every one of them (oh does anyone remember the excitement and anticipation when the next volume was due to be published?) They take up half a shelf and I look at them and think “Why are they still here? I know I shall never  read them again.

I’ve got a Dell paperback (price 35¢), 4th Dell printing, 1958, of “Bonjour Tristesse” by Francoise Sagan.

The pages are brown with age, and crispy. And the book kinda smells funny. I don’t recall when I bought the book. I was only 12 in 1958 and while I was precocious as all hell when it came to reading material, I can’t think I bought this book then – perhaps a few years later? – I can see myself at 15 buying and reading this book. Which means this little book is 60 years old. I’ve been carting this book around for 60 years! (How many times have I moved in 60 years? Rough count? 19 and that doesn’t include temporary housing where I didn’t have my stuff).

Have I reread this book at any time in the last 60 years? No, not within memory, tho for all I can remember I might have reread it when I was young.

And my question is: Why have I never dumped this book? Why, when I started writing this, was this the first book I went looking for on the shelf? I don’t remember what it is about. Every time I winnow books this one stays. And stays.

Perhaps it’s time I re-read it.  But I can’t. This copy would not survive the handling and I just checked and my local library does not have an ebook copy.

Shall this book live forever on my shelf? Unread. Or rather, un-reread. Shall I ever know what has made me keep it all this years?