Monday, March 16, 2009

You never know what you might find

Has it really been over a month?? Good heavens.

Alden, who works in the Special Collections department of a UW library, was home this weekend. One of the things our family likes to do is browse through the second-hand shops in town, so that's where we headed in the afternoon.  Mind you, we rarely purchase anything because we have our own second-hand shop in the garage, three estates' worth. I'm slowly winnowing through it all but that is grist for another blogpost.

When browsing those second-hand shops, we're always drawn to books. There's something about paging through an old book. The scent of old paper and bindings, the texture and visual interest of the cover, the discovery that this book is over 100 years old.  We can't help but think about the people who once owned this book and we are tempted to buy it, to rescue it from the shop, for their sake.  We are shamelessly sentimental about books.

During the Saturday browse, Alden made a surprising discovery:  a 1923 volume of The Tyee, the University of Washington's college annual.  He was astonished to find it.  He has seen these books in the Special Collections vault, highly treasured volumes, and here was one right in front of him.  It was in good shape, only two torn pages (repaired with scotch tape, which caused a cringe).  The binding was intact with very little wear on the edges, and there was a bonus item tucked within - the bookmark that came with the volume when it was published.  The price was $20.00.  $20.00!  Alden, of course, bought it.  He plans to bring it out with a flourish when he goes to work today.

What does this have to do with humor?  We had a lot of fun looking through the annual, visiting an era long gone.  The language and fashions of the day, the names and photos of the graduating class, pages dedicated to student groups and was fascinating.  Alden discovered that his current 'apartment' housing was a fraternity in 1923 - there was the photo to prove it.  Each College had its own page, listing the faculty and department accomplishments.  The best college page belonged to the Law College.  The first paragraph, to quote:

The law gang's yell is the first thing to be heard in University assemblies:
"Assault and battery, broken jaw, murder, arson, Washington law!"

If you don't think that's funny. . .well. . .it cracked me up.

Next time - the Lee Family Second-Hand Shop.  Stay tuned.

1 comment:

Accumulate Man said...

Considering the month I've had moving precious objects (i.e. junk) from one house to another, this post was a balm to my weary soul. Thank goodness I am not the only one in possession of a personal home "second hand store"! And here's to old and musty books..huzzah! Accumulate Man