As I mentioned in Part 1, these are books we inherited from Jonathan's grandparents. So, though wonderful and valuable treasures have been found by other lucky readers, these are a bit more personal. They were left by people who are gone or very distant, but people personally known by the family. And they're especially lovely for that. Most of the things I found are marginalia and nearly all are in schoolbooks like this copy of The Open Door Language Series Fourth and Fifth Grades: Language Games and Stories.
What a great cover. The introduction says the book "endeavors to conserve ability in the use of language which is frequently lost when adult standards are prematurely thrust upon pupils and when all pupils are expected to fit into the same mold . . . it gives him an opportunity to develop his own individual type of mind." Good for you, 1928 schoolbook! I'll never know if it accomplished its goal, but I do know it was a great book for doodling in. And for practicing writing letters to dear friends.
In case you can't read the writing, it says:
Marion, N. C.
Dec. 17, 1930
Dear JosephHow are you, fine I hope.
What do you want for Christmas?
Oh Boy, But I would spend
($60)/sixty Dollars on you if only
I had it. You know I love you.
Do you love me?
I better close for this time.
Love --- Ruth G ---
We've got a seventh grade edition of the book as well. Inside, Jonathan's grandmother doodled pictures and wrote on almost every page, including this pretty little verse:
May is the month of springing
I can hear the birds singing
kiss each blossom on its vine
you will in this my question find
Sweetly romantic with a touch of Mrs. Darling at the end. Or possibly just something for school, but still, when a verse like this is written in messy cursive in a book that smells like the past, it's romantic whatever the person who wrote it really meant.
I can't say why exactly, but this next book is beautiful.
Is it age, experience, use? Is it that the cover no longer reveals what's inside? The title page says it's School Arithmetics: Book Two and is only about 90 years old, but living in a musty basement and surviving a doodler's childhood was almost more than it could take. Inside, besides writing her name in cursive over and over, Jonathan's grandmother copied the following verses and thoughts, which I'll let speak for themselves.
Im not going to my seat unless she calls my name and tells me to
Which did it do
Did the flu get you
or did you get the flu
When you are married
and spanking six
between the licks -
Don't steal this [book]
My little lad.
For 69¢ it cost my
And when you die
The Lord will say:
"Where is that book
you stole one day?"
The above was tucked into the middle of the book. I can't quite work it out. Can you?
The next find was a facsimile letter from the author in a book club version of The First Overland Mail by Robert E. Pinkerton. (This book is recommended reading by the Smithsonian National Postal Museum. Their site is really well done and fun.) How appropriate to find a letter in a book about mail.
The last and best find was a sixth year study reader from 1925. Not only is there A Map of Bookland inside (along with tips for travelers) . . .
. . . but R. E. Stroud drew this on the inside cover: