Saturday, September 14, 2013

When I grow old--I need to know where my library will go

Contest winner!

Lisa, you've won a free copy of Linda's book! Email me at jodi henley @ gmail. com and I'll make sure it gets to you. :)
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It's been a long month and a half. I always back load the end of the year with workshops --I'm an adrenaline junkie or maybe that's a brain rush junkie because it helps to keep me focused.  Now that things are in a lull (a couple of days is a good lull!!) I have some time to catch up on all the things I put off, like cleaning my room, and buying groceries. Yesterday, I threw out the garbage.

I live in an apartment complex at the back of beyond—a very nice complex, as apartments go. Very old and stable, with lots of older people. People tend to keep to themselves, excerpt for the occasional “hi!” and that’s the way I like it. I might be struggling through my own version of learning to live on my own, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t had years of space between me and my neighbors to give me a hang-up.


We have a couple of those big corral-style places way off in the far corners where people dump their garbage and recycling, and occasionally you’ll see a tv or some furniture, and if you like it, you’re free to take it—the country-style equivalent of the sidewalk-diving people do in the big city.

Yesterday—there were seven boxes, really “big” boxes of books, all kinds of things, from cookbooks to military science, histories of all sorts, gardening reference (the good stuff, not the cheap little flimsies) science fiction, thrillers, romance and philosophy sitting in the recycle bin on a pile of cardboard. My youngest son helped me carry it home. It looked like it was going to rain, and I never throw out books. I give them to a library or someone who might be interested.

I don’t have room. I have a house-worth of stuff crammed into an apartment, waiting on the day I finally get a house to closing without it falling apart on me. There are fifty boxes of books crammed into restaurant grade wire storage racks because I can’t justify putting in space-eating bookshelves.

Seven more boxes pushes it to the edge of my storage capacity. I wanted to give them away, but I accumulate books. I can no more give away a book I might read than I can stop myself from having a snack while I write. So I sorted it all out into things I might read and things I needed to drop off at the library and ended up with six boxes. 

As I was doing it my oldest son comes home and says, “What are you doing?” So I tell him the story of the books, and he says, “Yeah, some old guy died."  And he pokes around for a second and changes his mind, “Nah, looks like they put mom and dad in the nursing home.” And I put down a leather bound copy of Plato—on top of a pristine boxed reference copy of “Flora” and said, “When I die, I want you to give my library to someone who wants it.”

After he went away, I thought about some random stranger putting their mom and dad in the nursing home where they’ll get to play hallway bowling with foam balls, sit around listening to piano music played by someone who thinks all old people love piano music, smile at children singing Christmas carols for them, and pay bingo. Without their library, or any thought for the minds who once read Plato and Keegan. And I took the seventh box and put it with the others. I’ll just hang on to it. You can never tell. I might read it later.

4 comments:

Lisa said...

I never thought about what would happen to my books when I pass on. I assumed that my son might be interested in them, but that may not be the case. I think your idea of giving them to someone who wants them is a very good idea. I'd like to think someone was enjoying them after I was gone.

In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy adding to my collection... :-) New books are irresistible.

(And hurray! I get to add Sidonia the Sorceress to my bookshelf. Woo hoo!)




Jodi Henley said...

Hi Lisa! I'm glad you won. :)

I'm seriously thinking of writing a will. I'm starting to wonder what will happen to my things when I'm gone, and--what happens if I disappear completely? I've lost track of so many people over the years. There's this service that posts a death notice when you die--
http://www.thedigitalbeyond.com/online-services-list/dead-mans-switch/

I'd like to think at least people would "know" what happened rather than wondering if I just turned off the internet.

And you're right--new books are irresistible. :) I'm glad I have a kindle or I'd be buried in an avalanche of books.

deanna said...

What a picture, your seven boxes of books, down to six, no, back to seven! I can understand completely. My daughter will probably do right by my library when I'm gone, as she's got a large one, as well. But she'll likely also have to deal with the books my parents will pass to me, which include books from my mom's folks. Hm. This might become an avalanche...

Jodi Henley said...

lol, Deanna. I can understand completely, too. :) I just drove by a new used bookstore yesterday and couldn't resist adding a couple of books and some old magazines from the sixties. I need a really large house so I can build in bookshelves.