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.

library.jpgIn 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.

  13 comments for “Bookmarking

  1. August 5, 2007 at 8:06 am

    This is awesome!

    I adore books, have them all over, and also bookmark with whatever is at hand. Your father’s library as euphemism cracked me up.

    And how awesome to find that treasure trove.

    I haven’t, but cool.

    I have bought used books and been fascinated by notes in the margin, though.

    My mother would have a hissy fit to see notes in the margin :shock:! That treasure trove was pretty marvelous, and no one in the family knew it was there. Just taught me never to throw out a book until I’ve looked through it to see what it holds.~skt

  2. August 5, 2007 at 9:53 am

    We have a “library” in our home, too. I find recipes and notes to myself tucked into my books, but when I started blogging, I wanted to find a way to mark specific lines in a book that had inspired blogging subjects. A post-it would have worked, but I came across Book Darts, which are rather like a paper clip with a flat, pointed end that you could position right at the quote you needed. I think I found them in “Bas Bleu,” which is a catalog for women who read books! Sometimes when I share books that have a book dart in them people will ask me about the little brass pointers.

    The brass pointers sound marvelous. I’d lose them, though and revert to Kleenex. Besides, it’s so exciting to find those little pieces of the past tucked away. 😆 Can’t help myself.~skt

  3. August 5, 2007 at 10:47 am

    That was a great blog subject. The Elvis prizes do need a spot of honor. My biggest pet peeve at the moment is commercial for the little blue pill that seems to be revealing a previous unknown deficiency in the American male. It is based on Viva Las Vegas and is an obscenity.

    As to bookmarks, I’ve found recipes, bills, checks, money, cloth, ribbons, and scraps of paper with absolutely essential information that drove me crazy because I couldn’t find it when needed. The books in this house just walk all over the place and it is amazing what odds and ends they pick up while migrating.

    Thanks, Jamie. It’s amazing sometimes to find subjects in the silliest places…like between the pages of my books! I haven’t seen the “blue pill” commercial to which you refer, but I studiously avoid television (except for The Closer, to which I’m addicted!). I’m pretty amazed what my books acquire, as you could tell. If I weren’t so absentminded, I wouldn’t have half the fun of discovery!~skt

  4. August 5, 2007 at 11:30 am

    A bookmark says a lot…I remember finding a dry cleaning slip in a book loaned to me by a friend – the dry cleaning slip from her days at the Naval Academy some 15 years earlier. I’ve used everything from plane ticket stubs to business cards to wildflowers. I guess what they really say is a lot about who you are at the time.

    Yes, and reading about who you were back then is almost like reading about an alien sometimes 😆 I appreciate your visit and your comment!~skt

  5. August 5, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    I haven’t found anything interesting, but they usually come from the library all Dog Eared. I use all sorts of things for bookmarks, bills, memos, dishcloth a piece of yarn.

    I like the money one, what a hoot!

    Dishcloth? I don’t think I’ve done THAT one :lol:, but there are plenty of others I have done. As long as I don’t put a bill in a book and forget to pay it, I guess I’m ok.~skt

  6. August 5, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    he he he – we had a library also, with Readers Digests the main fodder! The good thing about RD is the automatic bookmarks in their advertising.

    In our old family bible, we also found pamphlets from “The Orangemen” against the scourge of Catholocism which was a very interesting historical glimpse.

    I have also found a recipe for “Jean’s Chutney” written on an envelope in an old book I picked up second hand, and various ads and flyers from the last 80 years.

    Oh, yeah! Reader’s Digest, I forgot about that. We always had great fun with that, and then there were the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. Never heard of “The Orangemen,” so now I guess I’ll have to go scouring the internet. See what you did? 😆 Thanks for stopping by~skt

  7. August 5, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Great post, Shelly! I’ve found a few interesting things used as bookmarks in family cookbooks, journals, etc. They usually raise more questions than they answer, like the strange sprig of dried vegetation found neatly pressed in a family bible. I’d love to know the story behind that.

    Thanks for the kind words, Larry, and for the visit. I love the questions that those bookmarks raise, and love to think of those stories. Heck, make up one about that dried vegetation! That’s too good to pass up:lol:~skt

  8. August 5, 2007 at 6:50 pm

    In cleaning out Uncle Steve and Aunt Mary’s apartment in San Francisco after they both passed away, we discovered books all over the place. We also found money in one and after going through all of their books we had found more then $15,000. I don’t think they were bookmarks, but a place to hide money. Must have worked. 🙂

    That was a nice nest egg they had hidden away! I think I read somewhere about a babysitter who took a little girl to a bookstore and bought her a book for a quarter. She found the book stuffed full of money…but I think some of it had deteriorated and wasn’t worth anything. Unfortunately, folks in my family (except for goofy me) didn’t have money to put into the books 😆 Hoep you had a good time on the boat.~skt

  9. August 6, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Hi Shelly! So glad you’re enjoying you’re raffle gift! (I bought an Elvis bookmark for myself!) LOL

    Ummmm, re: “The Library”….that is exactly the reason that I don’t use a real library. Once when I was younger, I checked out at Nancy Drew book from the library and found a used piece of kleenex as a bookmark. I’ve never used a library since! Fortunately, we have plenty of bookstores in my area!!! LOL
    (and they sell Elvis stuff there, too!)


    I’m glad I got Elvis, ma’am. You freaked out about Kleenex? Well, don’t use my library, then. The toilet paper is clean…:twisted:~skt

  10. August 6, 2007 at 11:01 am

    OK, those are pretty freaky. I once had some yellowed, crackly Wall Street Journal “help wanted” ads fall out–all looking for real estate professionals. Some other newspaper clippings, but I can’t remember what they were off-hand.

    I, too, will grab just about anything to mark my page, but I have to say that I’m a dog-earrer (?), particularly in paperbacks. I do it not only to mark my page but also to mark off pages of passages I like.

    I just love the look of a well-loved, well-used book almost as much as I love a brand new looking one 🙂

    And I were ever an author (fingers crossed!) I definitely wouldn’t be offended by someone who folded my pages–I’d take it as a compliment 🙂

    If you have a moment, come on over to my place and check out my very first blog contest…it involves cute bags!!!

    I just can’t bring myself to dog-ear…not if I like the book. Momma taught me too well.~skt

  11. August 6, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    I used money, once or twice, but I’ve been known to tear up a paper towel or even toilet paper when I had a lot of thngs to mark and no time to hunt for something suitable. Made for a raggedy book! Now I bookmark mostly on line, with the same haphazard abandon – was easier to find when I used toilet paper. 😀

    😆 Don’t I know what you mean! I find all these sites I marked and can’t for the life of me remember why. Computers have just made my life more complicated. Interesting, too, but complicated~skt

  12. Mo
    August 7, 2007 at 9:56 am

    pre-read books are a big favorite of mine, and this is one of the reasons why; I’ve found someone’s airline ticket stubs, postcards, the old library sign-out cards (from a different book)…all *kinds* of things! Finding all those ‘bookmarks’ from your grand-dad, tho…that’s extremely kewl!!

    (I’m a big fan of the ‘written inscriptions’ in the front of books as well…they sometimes give me more wonder than the pages of the books, themselves)

    Great post!

    Thanks, Mo 🙂 I love older books, too. The inscriptions are sometimes interesting, and the things people write in the margins. The stuff from Daddy Mert was about the most amazing family find I ever acquired, though.~skt

  13. FatBlokeThin
    August 8, 2007 at 9:48 am

    I love books too and have a very protective and quite obsessive relationship with them. When I buy a book I will not allow anyone else to hold them until I get them home and I must pack them myself when we go on holiday. God I sound completely MAD….!

    I don’t like lending books so consequently don’t like borrowing them either. I am unable to walk past a book shop (new secondhand, foreign language, flea market whatever..) without browsing and usually buying something.

    I love books because of the fact that they are books, not necessarily because of their contents. I will often buy books becuase I like the cover or the smell of them (mmmm!) – nothing more.

    I love books that don’t tell you what they are about but have an intriguing title..

    I can read a 400 page paper back book and put it back on the shelf in the same condition that it left the publisher’s printer!

    My wife on the other hand cracks the spine on anything she reads and carries out other equally heinous crimes against literature without another thought! She is now so averse to my reaction that she won’t touch any of my books..ever!!

    If I find a damaged book, I feel physically ill for a moment and then utterly depressed for at least a day. A part of me has died. Pathetic really.

    My favourite book mark is my mind – I try to remember the number of the page I have read up to – this makes me re-read the last few pages usually as I have a lousy memory!!Doh!

    To burn a book is to burn human ideas which is to destroy humanity – there is no greater crime (well sort of, you know what I mean). For this reason, I can never throw a book away and I struggle to give them away to be honest.

    I once spent a whole day going through my books when we last moved house and from the 50 or so I had ear marked to go to charity stores etc, I ended putting all but about 3 or 4 back in the boxes to go to the new house – I knew this would happen but went through the pantomime anyway for the sake of my wife – bless her!

    Don’t know why but I feel better for sharing all!

    Wonderful post as always (hug).


    I’m protective of books, but not nearly as obsessive about it. You have a whole post here, darlin’! 😆 Sorry for the delayed response (with the project you have going on at your house, you know how quickly we can get bogged down!). Your poor wife :lol:. Obviously, you must be worth it Nigel, or she wouldn’t put up with that! Hugs back~skt

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