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October 16, 2019: My Father’s Daughter

I often think about my father, usually when I’m around books. He also loved reading, and like me, he had an amazing book collection. For some time, he owned and ran a bookstore, Country Lights Bookstore. This was when I was in high school and college.

I spent a summer at his place in New Hampshire, and on the weekdays, accompanied him to Hillsboro, NH where he had his shop. Hillsboro was a former mill town – it was being rejuvenated when my father opened up for business. Unfortunately, there were not enough readers in the town to support his store.

When the business began to falter, my father moved his shop to Keene, NH, a college town. Problem was, there were already two bookstores in town, and his was located on the outskirts.

286 bookcase
Livingroom bookcase

So it also went belly up.

I know that Dad felt bad after about what turned out to be a failed dream. And I felt bad too. I inherited his love of books, and of course I wanted the business to succeed.

I was thinking about all of the above today, as I undertook a huge project. VCRS, the local recycling center, routinely gets books in from a variety of places including the school district and area thrift stores. And volunteers routinely rip the books to shreds, and the paper is recycled.

Quite a while back I went through bins, pulled forth books and passed them on to whoever I thought might be interested. I had an extraordinarily high rehoming rate. I would, when friends came over, insist they take a book or two or three – some balked but then left with something in hand.

I stopped doing this because the then director said that rehoming books wasn’t a good idea. There is now a new director and he thinks that this is a good idea. So today, on the most beautiful of days, I began a huge sorting project. There are large bins (called Gaylords, dog knows why) with hundreds of books in them. The majority of these books are in a large warehouse-like shed, adjacent to the recycling floor. I met up with Sue, who is the wife of Steve Brown, the new director – she too is an avid reader. We initially stood in front of two chest-high cardboard Gaylords and talked about our long-range goals the first of which is to hold a book sale at the recycling center; this will be sometime around the holidays. The next is to find sites that might take books – schools and the like. We’ll set up a data base of places and then when we have enough books on hand, begin distributing them.

We then began sorting the first (I hope) of many, many Gaylords. We put the out of date catalogues in the area where the volunteers do the ripping. And we put sale books in a yellow cart.

I also had a pile. I now have two boxes of books that I brought home with me. One of these boxes contains books of poetry. I’ll first see if my friend Bill Schmidtkunz is interested in the contents of this box. Then I’ll begin pestering people to take them.

I am my father’s daughter. If he were around, he’d very much approve of what I’m doing.

Next: 287. 10/17/19: If Only -- A Conversation with Tinni

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