able to resist that shawl in beautiful earth tones from Bali? What about the Japanese vase made out of a fat section of bamboo, so simple and elegant?We had a yardsale today and none of the above sold. No matter. It was a great day, and I’ll tell you why.
I was selling a dozen or so Easton Press books. They are the classics, leather bound with fancy gold (real gold, they say) lettering and designs on the covers, gold edged pages and elegant illustrations. I inherited them and although they are handsome on a bookshelf, they just didn’t look comfortable on our bookshelves. They needed another home where they would be loved.
Two sisters came along, shorts, pierced ears, cute purses and ball caps. The younger one saw the books. “Ohhhh. I love books! These are so great! I just love them!” and she picked up one, petting the cover, fingering the gold embossing. She opened it lovingly, cooing over the print, the illustrations, and generally being a really enthusiastic teenager.
“Do you have Of Mice and Men?” She was almost afraid to ask. It was a long shot that it would be one of the dozen in the box.
My heart jumped. I did! I picked it out of the pile and handed it to her. She was ecstatic. “It’s my favorite book. It is sooo good!”
She went on to tell me that she was going to have a Sweet Sixteen party soon, and she wanted to have decorations that included old books, candles and flowers. “These are so perfect—“ She didn’t finish because she spotted the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and went into a swoon. The cover had a large gold-embossed fingerprint on the cover.
We negotiated a price, which included a special discount for book-loving teenagers, and she decided that she could get two. The lucky ones were Of Mice and Men, and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.
“Well,” I said, “I forgot to say that for Sweet Sixteen parties there is a special – buy two and get one free.”
“No!!! Really??? Oh, my god. I am soooo happy,” and she returned to the stack of books. Her sister reminded her that next year in school her class would be doing reports on Benjamin Franklin, and, look, there was his autobiography. Her mother came up and added that it was a very good book. The sixteen-year-old-to-be thought this was a good idea, and added Ben Franklin to Steinbeck and Doyle, already clutched in her arms.
I gave her a box for her books and she gave me the money. I said I was really glad that the books were going to have a good home, and thanked her for stopping by. She bounced off with a big smile, having no idea that she – I don’t even know her name – made my day, my week, probably my month!