a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: A Place for Family Treasures

Sunday, October 03, 2021

A Place for Family Treasures

SUMMARY: Books. Dogs. Bookends. To start with, anyway.

6:00 PM October 2, 2021. How can it possibly be getting dark this early already?

I'm typing away at the computer on my desk, trying to concentrate. But there's a niggling something at the edge of my consciousness. And finally I look off to the right of my bright, large monitor into the gloaming, and...

… something is staring at me with horrific wide white eyes from the shadows in the bookcase across this darkening room.

See it there on the top shelf, leaning against the little dark blue books? (Below the boxes, to the right of the vacuum handle?)

Let’s take a closer look, since the phone zoom is worthless.

Holy wow! Those aren’t his big buggy eyes!

They are his mustaches! Old friend of a friend.

He is nestling up to a collection of poetry in a set of books belonging to my great grandmother originally (My dad’s mom’s mom). 

Who is Betty?  Might be my grandmother, but no one called her that in my lifetime.
My great-grandmother?
Who is Glossie (seems vaguely familiar?) ?
Time to call on my Sisterclan hivemind! 
So I don't have to actually do the research myself.

And apparently my grandmother and her sister Hap were more or less bitterly divided about the fact that grandma inherited the books and Hap didn’t. (I don’t know: when I knew them, they were good friends and bought houses in Arizona in the same retirement town even though they were both from back east.) 

I was not the only sister who wanted them, but whatever negotiations we did, I brought them home. And have I opened them since I brought them home? I have no idea, but I like having them where I can see them easily. I do think about their growing fragility. The pages still cling tightly, but the spines are sketchy. I handle them with loving care when I touch them. We can keep aging, together.

They always held a prominent place of honor in my parents' living room. Dad had a set of bookends, wood, one of which was a large R and one of which was a large L. Those always… yes, bookended… those books. 

See the "R" and "L" around these books, top shelf?

And I have no idea whence those bookends came. Were they originally dad's, or were they his father’s? A gift? (I'm guessing yes on that.) So many things that I never asked and that they never wrote down. Unless that’s in the anecdotal history that dad wrote.

And... which sister took the bookends home? They were always around these books (at least since the late '70s), so I should've spirited them away when no one was looking, heh heh heh.  Of course... I already have several warehouses full of bookends plus a plethora of items that make fine book-holder-uppers, such as this little guy.

But I do know whence came the dog: My best friend since junior high. It was her Dad's and it reminds her of him. They lived together in their spacious-enough home until he died around 90, so I also knew him for a long time; not well, because he wasn't usually around when we were hanging out, but still. He had a lovely sense of humor. He was a "collector" and she's a minimalist, so she has spent time over a few years purging things. She knows I love dogs and asked whether I could rehome him--and I certainly could. Who could turn down that face? Another permanent member of the household.

So many treasures and memories, none of which will likely matter in any way to the next generation. Unless I collect these stories into a book and deliver it to all. Another project for retirement.


  1. I posted a comment but maybe I didn't save it. ANYWAY...my aunt has donated books like this to a library/museum at University of Michigan, and there's probably some place like that in CA too. Unless you have some family member that is likely to want them it might feel better to give them to some place that will preserve them. I LOVE te dog!

    1. Interesting idea; thanks.
      I love the little guy, too! Leslie and her Dad always had the most wonderful tchotchkes and other decor. I believe she has said that he was usually the one who brought them home.

  2. 1929... very cool. There's something about old books. Especially with inscriptions.

    I have my dad's high school history textbook. He can't understand why I keep it. I could never not keep something like that!


    1. Sorry it takes me so long to "moderate" comments. But it does keep out a lot of spam.
      I also understand about your dad's textbook--not only his, but history as of when he was in high school!
      When my dad decided to get rid of his old dictionary (college?), which is the one we used at home when I was growing up, I snapped it up. And now it is sitting on a shelf with various other dictionaries, and I don't need it or use it and I'm trying to offload maybe another several hundred books. But still--part of my history *and* his.