My room is a wreck. It looks a bit like I’m moving out… or maybe moving in… or maybe both. Actually, I’m just trying to empty my storage unit (the one in PA), a bit at a time, because renting a U-haul is still too expensive. Last I checked, it was still double the price to go south as it is to go north. My wallet hurts, just thinking about it. So, every time I go north for a conference or to see friends & relatives (sometimes I do all of those at the same time), I stop at the unit to get a load of boxes and other things.
This time, I didn’t have an awkward cart to fit boxes around, so I was able to cram my CRV to the limit. At first, I thought I’d overestimated how much I could fit, bringing down more boxes than I should have. And then I figured I could manage, if I beat a couple of them into submission. At that point, I didn’t want to take them back upstairs on the storage elevator, so I just hoped I wouldn’t break anything. Fortunately, one of the back boxes, despite saying FRAGILE in big letters, seemed to have a sleeping bag in the bottom. The breakable stuff must be at the top of the box. I bashed in the back of that box, in order to get my back window closed.
Filling the car to the brim also resulted in another long trip where I couldn’t see out the back window, but since when is that unusual? I’ve done that, many and many a time. Of course, my “favorite” trip was probably one where I could see out the back… but I had a very long dresser in the car. So, I had to put the driver’s seat almost up as far as it would go, and drove for 10 hours with the steering wheel trying to eat my rib cage. Considering how much I enjoy leg room, when I drive, this was not comfortable. Nor was prying myself out of the seat, at every stop.
I managed to find my bulletin boards, so those are waiting to be loaded with pictures and other odds and ends. Several boxes are labeled Christmas Stuff, which some people might think was funny. How many single people have several boxes of Christmas decorations? Yes, I can decorate an entire Christmas tree, and several mantels, all by myself.
Some boxes had dishes, some have candles (I haven’t opened it yet, but it sure smells good), and some are from my office. I just removed whatever boxes I had room for, knowing that I couldn’t really be picky about what was in them (aside from the bulletin boards, which were necessary). My favorite boxes, though, are the two that held books. Ok, maybe there are others, but I think these are the only two. The rest of the book boxes are probably in the very back of the unit, near the shelves.
If you’re a fellow bookworm extraordinaire, you will appreciate the excitement of opening two small book boxes, curious to see what’s in them. I felt like I’d hit the jackpot, no matter what was inside. One contained a bunch of picture books, from “coffee table books” that I bought in Ireland (back in ’99) to beautifully illustrated Caldecott Medal-winning story books. That one also contained some of my yearbooks, which is kind of frightening. But I was too distracted by the second box, to pull everything out of the first.
I’d lucked onto a box of mostly hardbacks, with some classics mixed in with some history. When I pulled out That Devil Forrest: The Life Of Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, I really wanted to jump up and down. Except I was sitting on the floor, so that didn’t work very well. Since I’ve been on an American history binge, lately, I’ve been wishing I had access to some of my other history books. And I really want to read about this famous Confederate General.
After that, I found A Devil of a Whipping: The Battle of Cowpens, by Lawrence E. Babits. If you’re not familiar with the subject, this book is about an American Revolutionary War battle, not one from the Civil War. Cowpens is an hour or two up the road, here in South Carolina, and I have some mixed up memories of visiting it with my grandma, before she went into the nursing home. I don’t think we actually went anywhere but the gift shop… was that because of time constraints or what? I can’t remember. But I bought a ceramic mug and a book, and had some time with just my grandma. I remember the togetherness part, if not what else we did while we were there. Just because of that, I should read the book (finally) and go visit Cowpens, again. And yes, it has that strange name because it was originally referred to as “The Battle of the Cow Pens”, as I recall. Eventually, it turned into a town name.
I have a bad habit of picking up every old copy of Little Women that I find, in thrift stores, if it’s in hardback. I think I need to give away several copies of it. But during one of those thrift store trips, I once came across a set labeled “World’s Greatest Literature”, and I took a whole stack of them home with me. It included The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Washington Irving’s Sketchbook, Emerson’s Essays, Wakefield’s Vicar of Wakefield, and several more which aren’t in this box. I still haven’t read any of them, but I know I should, because they’re classics. My memory says that Ralph Waldo Emerson was a good writer, even if he was a bit of an idiot. Anyone who thinks John Brown (of Harper’s Ferry fame) was a saint (he was a murderer) is definitely an idiot.
Once upon a time, I started to read David Herbert Donald’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Lincoln, but I never finished it. It is quite a tome, you know. But though I’ll probably still read it, eventually, the book I really want to read is Donald’s Lincoln Reconsidered. Over the years after he wrote the original, I believe he learned some new things and rethought others concerning the myth of Lincoln, and wrote his newer book, accordingly.
Other classics like the Sherlock Holmes books are in this pile, and maybe I should re-read them. I remember when I first read The Hound of the Baskervilles, someone warned me that if I read it before bed, I wouldn’t sleep. I think I did it anyway, just to prove them wrong… I can’t remember exactly.
Over the years, I’ve come across numerous books written by Thomas Costain, or books that he edited, and I’ve picked up most of them. I don’t remember why I started doing that, maybe because he had some good collections of stories that he had edited. The funny thing is that while my mom has read them all, I’ve never read any of them, though I continue to collect them. I suppose I should try some of them now, right? : )
I’ll let you know if I come across any other interesting books and things. This unpacking of boxes is quite fascinating, because it’s been in storage for over two years now, and I don’t remember some of it. Which should make it easier to get rid of some of it, right? That’s part of the plan, at least, to donate anything that I really don’t need. Including some of the books, if I decide I really don’t need them. Not easy to do, part ways with books, but I manage to do it, now and then.