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Ephemera in Books


I stopped in at the library where I always found wonderful donated book that are being given away and I picked up a couple of Happy Hollisters books. Did any of you read them when you were little? We had a huge collection of them and I read them over and over. They were ridiculous in the same way Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden is ridiculous. The books are about a family with five children. The parents don't matter. They only exist in order to provide a backdrop against which the children solve complex mysteries, go on adventures, and generally know more than all the adults. Wonderful stuff when you are 7 or 8.

My parents still have the collection in their basement and I picked these up in case they were missing these. They do all blend together so I wasn't sure. I am not sure why I felt we needed to complete the collection. Most of the grandchildren are way too old to be interested in the adventures of Pete, Pam, Holly, Ricky, and Sue. However, I seemed incapable of leaving them behind. When I got them home my daughter was just as nostalgic as I was and promptly decided to read one. That is when we found that someone had left some papers in it.

Notice the handmade paper dolls with very sixties outfits. There is also a joke paper from Bazooka gum, a postcard from the Dinosaur State Park in Rocky Hill, CT (lots of dinosaur footprints, very cool) and a letter written and then translated from a secret code. It says:

I have decided to write a long letter. I have finished my book report have you. I don't think we should write letters in school do you. Please write back. Love, Cori

I think Cori must have been an absolute sweetheart. She also saved a copy of Helen Keller's obituary from The Hartford Courant of June 2, 1968.  Helen Keller was one of my slightly obsessive interests when I was 8 or 9. I didn't remember that she lived in Connecticut at the time of her death. According to the article, Mark Twain (who also lived in Connecticut when he died. Maybe I should move.)  said: "The two most interesting characters of the 19th century are Napoleon and Helen Keller."

I just Googled The Happy Hollisters because, even in my childhood, they were not very common. None of the libraries I went to had them and I rarely run into anyone that has read them. However, there is now a website devoted to them and they are being reprinted. Not only that, but you can buy a Happy Hollisters T-shirt if you want.

A Poem for a Thursday #28

Photo by Stephen Ellis on Unsplash

Wendell Berry is an American poet, essayist, novelist, and environmentalist. He lives on a farm in Kentucky. He strongly believes that frequently too much importance is placed on wild lands without a proper appreciation for farming.  Berry's poetry "celebrates the holiness of life and everyday miracles often taken for granted."

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. 

The Peace of Wild Things
Wendell Berry

Visit Typings for another poem.

A Poem for a Thursday #27

Photo by Guillaume Flandre on Unsplash

Carl Sandburg was a poet, biographer, writer, and editor. He lived from 1878-1967. He won the Pulitzer Prize three times; twice for his poetry and once for a six-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln. Sandburg described poetry as "a pack-sack of invisible keepsakes. Poetry is a sky dark with a wild-duck migration. Poetry is the opening and closing of a door, leaving those who look through to guess about what is seen during a moment." He also said, "I'll probably die propped up in bed trying to write a poem about America."

love is a deep and a dark and a lonely
and you take it deep take it dark
and take it with a lonely winding
and when the winding gets too lonely
then may come the windflowers
and the breath of wind over many flowers
winding its way out of many lonely flowers
waiting in rainleaf whispers
waiting in dry stalks of noon
wanting in a music of windbreaths
so you can take love as it comes keening
as it comes with a voice and a face
and you make a talk of it
talking to yourself a talk worth keeping
and you put it away for a keen keeping
and you find it to be a hoarding
and you give it away and yet it stays hoarded

like a book read over and over again
like one book being a long row of books
like leaves of windflowers bending low
and bending to be never broken

Love is a Deep and a Dark and a Lonely
Carl Sandburg

Visit Typings for another poem.