Books are odd places for filing

Published 11:59 pm Friday, December 14, 2012

My husband often joked that I used books for filing cabinets. I must admit there was some truth to that. I have often stuffed things I wanted to save among book pages. The problem was if I ever wanted or needed the “saved” item, I didn’t have a clue where to look.

While hunting a book recently, I discovered a familiar anthology that had belonged to my mother tucked out of sight on a shelf under a table. I remembered that it contained some of my favorite inspirational verses and memorable phrases. It bulged with scraps of paper hanging out here and there. I chuckled when I pulled it out. Ah, ha. I wasn’t the only one who tucked keepsakes into books. I had inherited this style of “scrapbooking” from my mother.

As much as I wanted to sit down and thumb through the book for my favorite verses, it was hard to concentrate on the printed word with all that stuff in-between. I decided instead to investigate those treasured goodies. The first thing that fell in my hands was my fifth grade report card. I had made satisfactory grades on all the subjects except outstanding on reading and spelling. I noticed that I weighed 52 pounds and had gained four more pounds by the following April. I had attained the height of 51 inches, a growth of two inches from my starting height of 49 inches that fall at the beginning of the school year.

Next, a certificate appeared among the pages. It certified that I had attended vacation Bible school at St. Andrew Methodist Church one summer from June 25 through July 6. I remembered that well. I had spent that summer in Panama City with my aunt and had attended with my cousin and several of the children in their neighborhood.

I turned a few more pages to find a beautiful birthday card sent to my mother by her younger sister. The cover read “To A Special Sister.” It was dated 1988. Clipped on top of the card was that sister’s December 2000 obituary notice from a newspaper.

I dearly loved that aunt—the same one I spent numerous summers with in Florida. She was living with my parents when I was born. She and my daddy named me, giving me the same middle name as her own.

I found more birthday cards, a 1980 invitation to a niece’s wedding, a Mother’s Day card, a religious tract, a yellowed newspaper clipping headed “Ear Insects,” a get well card from Mother’s Sunday School Class when she lived in Florida, one of my Nina’s Notes columns from 1990, and an Ann Landers column titled “Prayer for Deaf People.”

Between pages 64-65, I found a folded illustrated newspaper clipping of one of our family’s favorite Christmas poems, “A Visit from St. Nicholas.”

I never did get back to reading my favorite inspirational verses in the anthology that day. I was too busy looking over my mother’s scrapbook items.