In October 2011 I re-read a childhood favorite of mine. I waxed rhapsodic about it here.
In June 2014 I blogged about how I found that book while I was picking up clothes at my local dry cleaners. This was no small deal. A book long out of print, almost impossible to find online and there it suddenly was in a pile of free books at my dry cleaners. And on top of that, it was actually the same exact copy that I had checked out in 2011 from my local library. It had been withdrawn from the collection. Probably when I returned it. It probably never made back onto the shelf. The book was just meant to be mine.
Flash forward to the spring of this year when Simon of Stuck In A Book was visiting DC. We trekked out to suburban Maryland to comb through a used bookstore or two and ended up at Second Story Books‘ warehouse store in Rockville. In that warehouse store they have something called ‘The Annex’ which is a very large space crammed full of dusty old books in no order whatsoever. And I mean no order. A 1950s anatomy book next to a Pat Buchanan political screed next to a Campbell Soup cookbook. In many places the books were on the shelves three-deep. Knowing that I didn’t have hours and hours to spend in The Annex I almost skipped it entirely. But since I wasn’t looking for anything in particular I decided I would choose just one shelf section and see what I could find. Much to my surprise I started finding some things that I thought I should take home with me.
I was haphazardly pulling out some books to get a look at what was in the third row back and something familiar-looking caught my eye.
Yes, my friends, a sequel to one of my favorite childhood books. A sequel I had no idea existed. A very hard to find sequel to a very hard to find kid’s book published in the 1950s. And for about 3 bucks. Could this really be true? Yes it could and it was. I know with little doubt that the finding of these two books will remain the great book finds of my life. Not because they are necessarily my favorite books of all time, but the way in which they found me. All the particles in the Universe conspired to bring these two objects into my possession. Just when they had probably given up hope. Each just an inch or two away from being pulped and returned to the earth. Generations of kids wanting to read about other kids milking pet goats and making pretty curtains for the old rail car they were living in, will never know they want to read about goats and curtains.
Now I need to spend the rest of my life figuring out how to pass them on to appreciative stewards. They’ve come too far to be lost again.