Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Dollar Treasure

I love old books. They tell you stories about their use. You can see where the fingerprints touched the pages as they held the book open. You can see how long they lingered on each page by the finger stains.
Jack Bowman, English actor

Today I joined Mom to volunteer at the used book sale that supports a local seniors programme. Helping to organize boxes upon boxes of books on every conceivable topic, I sorted novels from self-help and histories, and textbooks from autobiographies. As I worked, my hand paused over Old Patchwork Quilts and The Women Who Made Them, written by Ruth E. Finley in 1929. I'm not sure now where it was stuffed in the sale's jumble but, as I scanned the pages of drawings documenting early American quilt patterns, I knew that I had found a treasure.

I did not spot the book's dedication until I had a chance to sit down in the comfy chair this evening and open it for a leisurely read. For Christmas in 1968, "Muriel" presented Finley's treatise to "Marion" with the note, "I know you will treasure this book." It seems that Muriel was passing on a favourite book that she had owned before she married, when she was living in the Toll House in Copplestone village, Devon. An internet search tells me that the Toll House was built in 1830, a little more than 50 years before Finley was born. A some point in time after 1929, her book came to reside in old toll house from a New York publisher. How and when it crossed the great pond again, this time to Canada, are intriguing questions. I'll never know all the stories that this little treasure holds but I am happy that it has come to reside with me on my lap. It's almost as if Muriel presented the gift to me. Thank you.

1 comment:

Pam said...

I remember a trip with the women's institute and my mom (our summer mystery tour), where we went to the "Woolen Mills"
http://www.customwoolenmills.com/, and there saw not only the wool being made into balls, but a number of women working on a large quilt. It was an old fashioned design, so intricate and beautiful. While it was equally amazing to see the wool being processed, these woman truly amazed me with their skill...I am sure they were reaching the 10 stiches per inch mark.