I’m not saying that I have. I’m just saying maybe.
And maybe, if I did. Maybe I bought something.
If I had, I might have bought a children’s book.
It might have been a book that my mother read to me.
It might have been Marshall Saunders’ Beautiful Joe.
(Do you know it? Did you read animal stories?
Maybe Lad: A Dog, or The Incredible Journey, or My Friend Flicka, or Black Beauty? Watership Down? Where the Red Fern Grows, or The Yearling?
[Oh, if you did, you must read Alissa York’s Fauna. It’s amazing.]
What about the Thornton Wilder tales? Or Marguerite Henry’s books?
If not, maybe Beatrix Potter’s stories, or Stuart Little, or Charlotte’s Web?)
But where was I? Before I was drawn into all those story memories?
Right. I was in bed, because it was bedtime. So it was reading time.
And my mother was reading me Beautiful Joe, her own copy from girlhood.
Up there, to the side, that’s what her copy looked like.
I don’t know if her copy ever had a proper dust jacket. I certainly never saw it.
But you know how some books get lodged in your memory with their very physicality?
(And some don’t.) But those that do, it’s hard to imagine their being any other way, you know?
Any way other than the way they looked when you were first introduced.
So that’s how I remembered Beautiful Joe. Just like it sits up there.
But maybe it wasn’t always like that. It might have had a cover once.
It might have looked something like this, over there to the side.
I’m just saying.
Have you ever brought home a book for purely sentimental reasons?
When you’re not sure whether you’d ever re-read it, whether it’s even worth re-reading?
But for $4 it’s worth it, for the memory it holds for you?
I’m just asking.