Birthdays and Bookstores of the Past

20 Aug

On August 26th I celebrate my 65th birthday. We won’t be doing too much since I injured my knee and will have arthroscopic surgery Sept. 5 to repair a torn meniscus. One of my favorite things to do as a child on my birthday involved riding the bus with Elsie. Elsie never learned how to drive a car. For years she was content to call a cab or go where she needed to go by city bus. It is hard for me today to imagine choosing to ride a city bus to celebrate anything. Yet that is what I chose to do year after year when Elsie asked me what I wanted for my birthday. We rode the city bus from the suburb of La Mesa into downtown San Diego. Then we went to what I thought was the best attraction in downtown San Diego – the second hand bookstores. I don’t remember if she gave me a price limit but we went searching for “treasures.” I still have several of those treasures, wonderful old books that had been loved before I claimed them as my own. The day was not perfect until we had lunch at Mannings Cafeteria. It fascinated me that I could walk along a long line of food offerings and choose. I don’t remember the other items we selected for lunch but I always chose red Jello cut into little squares topped with a glorious mound of whipped cream. I’m not sure today that I would eat red Jello topped with whip cream if you paid me. As a child it was an awesome treat, and I was with Elsie and we had looked at books. What more could a child ask for? It certainly encouraged my early love of books. This year for my birthday I ordered used books from Amazon. I had such fun choosing an eclectic blend of books to read during the 6-8 weeks of recovery from knee surgery.

I have had fun creating a Pinterest site that is nearly all paintings, photos and quotes about reading. Of course I added Elsie onto the page hoping it might catch the interest of those who love reading. Warning – Pinterest is very addicting – but also very fun. I have also discovered if you use the SEARCH box on Pinterest it can become a research tool.

Just for fun I thought I’d share some pictures of Elsie in her later years.  The black and white photo is certainly Christmas and likely 1955. My father must have taken the photo of Elsie, my mother Katie and myself with the doll, my sister Nancy and my brother Dan.

The picture with my  children is 1978, Elsie was 90. Notice that she is surrounded by books. When she was 95 she still lived on her own and was still a voracious reader.  My husband and I are beside Elsie, Carin, Christopher and Dan on laps. My mother Katie is sitting on the floor. I notice there are books behind us and on both sides of couch, and on the floor. That is Alice (Elsie’s sister) sitting beside Elsie in the final picture , celebrating Elsie’s 95th birthday in 1983.

3 Responses to “Birthdays and Bookstores of the Past”

  1. Rita Covalt August 20, 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    Barb, what a way to celebrate your 65th birthday (and Carin’s birthday too!)! Surrounded by books is one of the best ways I know to celebrate. I used to have three or four books going at one time, but am content to read one at a time now. (^_^) It was neat to read how you used to celebrate as a child with Elsie. Have a great one when it comes!

  2. Robin Menefee August 20, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    Your note brought back so many memories. A favorite childhood memory is my dad taking me to the “bookmobile” in a park in Maryvale near where we lived in Phoenix, AZ. We weren’t a big enough suburb to have a library yet, but he’d take me to the bookmobile every other Saturday and I’d collect as many books as they’d let me take home even though I usually had read them all within a day or so. Besides that, he’d take me to a little bookstore in Ft Worth, TX, every summer when we visited family and I’d get to buy 1 or 2 Nancy Drew mysteries every summer. Wonderful days and memories. I still prefer the small, local, used bookstores and second hand books. They’ve been read and loved and that passes down with the book. Thanks for the memories.

  3. ritaroberts September 3, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Hi Barbara,Here in Crete we have” swop shops ” for books which can be found in the most unexcpected places, even the supermarkets.So I usually take books I have read and replace with others when I go shopping.Have picked up some really good ones,even various classics. This is a good way because it costs nothing.I read a lot and sometimes learn something new.Some of these books have signatures in them so I like to think I am cherishing that book for that person. I will cherish your book Barbara I only wish you were near enough to sign it for me.
    Regards Rita.

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