Old things

“I love old things. They make me feel sad.”

“What’s good about sad?”

“It’s happy for deep people.”

I love old things.  It doesn’t particularly matter what the old thing is, as long as it’s old. To know that someone has held it before you – many someones, in fact – and perhaps loved it, and hoped they would never have to give it up. I especially love old books. I love the old, hard covers with engravings and designs that meant someone cared enough to make the book ornate. I love the smell of the pages and how they yellow around the corners.

I love inscriptions on the inside covers. I have one book that reads

Sarah Anne Steptoe

From her affectionate sister Sophia. March 19th, 1860

And it’s written in the most beautiful calligraphy I can only aspire to match. The book is called “Women of Worth” and has no publication date. It’s always amazing to me to think that a girl read this during the Civil War. Which side was she on? Did she have brothers? Did one fight for the South and one for the North? Did they die? Was she there when Sherman came blasting through, burning everything in sight? Did she write letters to her lover during the war? Did he ever come back? Did she pick up Charles Dickens’ first publication of Great Expectations and love it? Did she hate it? Did she lend it to a friend to read and never get it back?

 Maybe I”ll find her in heaven and ask her. I’ll have to remember that name; Sarah Anne Steptoe. Or maybe I’ll find Sophia.



18 thoughts on “Old things

  1. I can’t get enough of old books!!! My grandmother’s brother had a whole houseful of old books many of which my grandma has, and I spend a long time–hours, often–looking through them. 😮 one dating 1860??? *gasps* So, so, SO neat. I also love to look for inscriptions on the inside covers and first pages–I have an old schoolbook with tons of names inside of it from the different owners, even a little love poem a schoolboy must have written to his sweetheart 🙂
    A Fellow Old Book Lover

  2. I love this. I think it’s always cool to find inscriptions etc. in books, or on the back of pictures. Makes you wonder about the people who had it before you.

  3. 1860? Holy cow. That’s amazing.

    The only old thing I have is my briefcase, which I use at school instead of a backpack…it used to belong to a man who died, and that was in this century, so it’s not in any league near that book of yours. Still, it’s good to carry school stuff around in. (:

    • I KNOW, isn’t it amazing? It’s so old; I adore getting old books. =) Finding them at used bookstores is fantastic.
      *laughs* Well, the briefcase has a history, at least! I use a leather portfolio that was my grandpa’s. =)

  4. Oh, I LOVE old books! Especially the ones with really good old pictures 🙂 I have lots all around the house and in my room 🙂 Hmm . . . I think my recentest acquisition of a REALLY old one is a book of the complete poems of Scottish poet Robert Burns, and it doesn’t even have a publication date in it anywhere, so I don’t know how old it is. But it’s green and gold and BEAUTIFUL! I love old books! 🙂

  5. It’s so great to see your blog again Mirriam! I used to love reading your writings but i lost the link a long time ago, and by a happy mistake I’ve found it again 😀
    Old books are incredible! They have secret stories behind their stories 🙂 I always love reading the inside the covers, like you said it’s quite a thought. My uncle has a letter carrier bag from world war II, when I saw it I spent half the day just wondering about what kind of notes must have passed through that bag!

    • TRISTEN!!! Amazing to see you again!!! Indeed. Old books ARE incredible. HE HAS A LETTER BAG FROM WORLD WAR TWO????? OHMYGOODNESS! That is AMAZING. You are so blessed to be able to see that. Just IMAGINE what sorts of letters were written and passed through – death notes, lover’s letters, family updates – WOW!

  6. I love old books as well. 🙂 As far as I know, my two oldest books are Ivanhoe and Cast Up By the Sea. The former is the classic by Sit Walter Scott and thanks to the writing in the front of the book, I found it was given to Margaret N. Nicholson in Christmas 1878 by what appears to be “Whitall” (I can’t exactly tell what that name is though)…I don’t know when the book was published, but it was obviously printed in 1878 or earlier. The latter is a book I’m not familiar with; in the front is written the following: Ernest Trefy, from Washington Village M. E. Sunday School. Christmas, 1889. (the handwriting looks pretty, as I’m sure the writing in your old book does as well) I’m not positive, but I think it may be an 1860-something edition (no copyright date in this one either).

    Not only do I like old books simply because they’re old, but it’s like holding a piece of the past, and like you said, I wonder who may have tuned the pages of the book in bygone days, perhaps 150 years ago, when things looked so different…

  7. I love old things. And I love that quote. (And I love Doctor Who, but that is neither here, nor there…)

    Old books are the best. I collect them, and fill my bedroom shelves with them. ^.^

    ~Katie, Whisperings of the Pen

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