My Momma taught all of us kids to respect books. We were told never to write in a book or “dog-ear”(fold down the corner) a page. Not only did that harm the book, it was disrespectful to the author. Now, some authors don’t deserve any respect, however I still refuse to mark my place in a book by using a dog-ear. I grab the handiest thing I can find to save my page.
Recently, I won a raffle over at Jessica the Rock Chick’s blog, when she did her Blogathon for charity. My prizes came in the mail yesterday: an Elvis magnet and an Elvis bookmark. Are they cool, or what? All I can say, Jessica is “Thank you. Thank you very much.”
The King is too wonderful to hide away in the pages of a book. I’ll just have to use other bookmarks. Oh my! The things that get used as bookmarks, you wouldn’t believe.
When I was young, I didn’t understand the value of money. All of my needs were provided by my parents. If Momma gave me my allowance while I was reading, I just might absentmindedly tuck that money in the book to mark my page. In packing up my books to move them when I got married, one of them fell to the floor and a five dollar bill fell out! You should have seen me ransacking those books trying to find more! I found $25 before I was finished. Trust me, I don’t use money as bookmarks these days. It gets spent before I get the chance to do so.
In my family, if someone says, “I have to go to The Library,” it doesn’t mean what you think it does. Growing up, Daddy called our bathroom “The Library.” He kept a supply of books in there in case he had to “sit for a spell.” I have a small supply of books in my own bathroom. Pages are often bookmarked with sheets of toilet paper or Kleenex.
I’m amazed by things I find that I’ve used as a bookmark. I had searched for months for a recipe for a favorite cake that Momma used to make. There was no telling what I had done with it, but I knew I had it somewhere. I found it, finally, quite by accident. It was stuffed in the pages of a book; one of those “how to” books about getting organized. Obviously, it’s not a book I read very well.
My recipe books are always a source of ephemera. They are a “blast from the past.” Whatever happened to be on the kitchen counter got used to mark my favorite recipes. One day, I just sat down to look for bookmarks. I found scraps of paper with the names of people in my life who were long ago forgotten; “to do” lists from thirty-five years ago; a letter written to me by my grandmother just a few months before her death; pictures of my children; and an old statement of my house payment on my very first house (the mortgage payment for mytwo bedroom, one bath house in 1973 was $72).
Back in the mid 1970s, I was involved in tracing my family’s history. There was a camel back trunk in my Mamaw’s garage that hadn’t been opened in almost 30 years. It had belonged to my Great Grandfather, Mertus Bemoan Cumbie. Inside that musty trunk was his Bible, with bookmarks! He had bookmarked just as I do: with whatever was handy.
That Bible held a wealth of genealogical information. There was a postcard from his mother with her own handwriting. I was able to hold paper with writing from my Great Great Grandmother (and it was a thrill). There were advertisements from magazines in the 1930s, bills from the grocer, and much more.
Daddy Mert practiced learning his Bible verses by writing them down, so there were many scraps of paper with Bible verse written in his own hand. There was other verse as well, poems that he had written. These were love poems dedicated to his first wife (my Papaw’s mother) who had died giving birth to a child. He never got over his love for her. Best of all, he clipped obituaries and placed them in the Bible. I found obituaries for his parents and his grandparents! Elaborate, flowery obituaries they were. They weren’t like the ones you find in the newspaper today, and they gave me much information about my family history. These were just junk to him, but now those scraps of paper are treasured family heirlooms.
Recently, I bought a used book at a garage sale. It was a college textbook. When I picked it up to read in it the other day, a stack of bookmarks fell out. I can’t even hazard a guess why these carefully clipped pictures of Bob Dole and OJ Simpson were saved. A school project? What in the world could be the connection between those two men? You take a guess. I can’t even think of a bad pun for this one.
Have y’all ever discovered interesting bookmarks when you open up a book? Sometimes intriguing things fall out. Tell me what you have found. Go on, dole out those stories.