Monthly Archives: July 2012

Used Books

A few weeks ago my friend Christine at work pulled this thick book out of her bag to read at lunch, Generations: A Century of Women Speak about Their Lives by Myriam Miedzian and Alisa Malinovich.  It contains stories told by three generations of women born in the 2oth century.  The book looked interesting, so I wrote the name on a piece of paper and slipped it into my purse.

I lent my copy of Trinity by Leon Uris and did not get it back.  I’ve read the book several times, but not in quite a few years. It is a book about Ireland around 1840 to 1922.  I read it for the first time in the 1970’s because my sister Janet recommended.  My mother and sister, Mart, shared it too.  I loved the story.  All this before I learned of my Irish heritage.  Now it is part of my story too.

Around the 4th of July I received an email from Powell’s books in Portland Oregon with an offer I can never, ever, refuse.  Free Shipping.  To make it even better (or worse however you want to look at it) there was no minimum.

After our Flag Raising on the 4th, I sat at my computer ordering books.

Last week they came.  Trinity was in better shape than the one I lost.   Generations also.  I opened it up and just read one essay while I was cooking dinner.  Oh how much our mothers and grandmothers went through for us.  We still have a ways to go.

Last week I shopped at the WAIF (Whidbey Animal Improvement Foundation) Thrift Store on my lunch hour.  I usually start at the books first.  I was looking for some David Baldacci books that we don’t have.  He is such a quick read, I would rather spend less on them.  It looked like someone had just donated a bunch of books, they had lots of old ones.  Remember the days when the outside of book was pretty?  Anyway, I found a copy of The Tiger’s Woman by Celeste DeBlasis.  I have a copy of the book, but mine is so well used that I worried it would fall apart on the next read.  I bought it for 75 cents.

A funny story about The Tiger’s Woman. In late 1980 as I was preparing to have my hips replaced for the first time so I bought a bunch of books to have on hand after surgery.  It turns out I think I read most of them before the surgery.  The Tiger’s Woman is set in Seattle and the San Juan islands of the 1870’s.  I loved the story, especially the fact it was in Seattle.  One day Mommy was at our house helping with Matt and she told me she found the book I had been reading and she really enjoyed it, could she let Iris read it too?  I didn’t now what to say.  I would never have shared the book with her because of the racy loves scenes it contained.  Well, it was too late for that.  I think all of her friends read the book too.  I’m not sure if I didn’t want her to know I read books like that or if I didn’t want to know that she read books like that.

So you see I love books for the stories they contain and for the stories around the books themselves.  Whenever I read my original copy of The Tiger’s Woman, I remember Mommy’s hands held the book too.  More connection.

By the way, if you are in Portland Oregon, you need to stop and spend several hours at Powell’s books.  You never know what you will find.  Check them out at  Maybe you will get a free shipping coupon too!



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Fourth of July Flag Raising

Back in the late 1960’s, my parents started a tradition of gathering our neighbors on the morning of July 4th to raise the flag, say The Pledge of Allegiance and sing The Star Spangled Banner. Some years my brother Tom played the trumpet to accompany our singing.  Usually the grandchildren helped my dad raise the flag.   Afterwards there was coffee and food for all.  A time to get together to share stories and show patriotism.

When Al and I moved to Washington State I kept saying “We should start this tradition here.”  But we didn’t.

Until we moved to Whidbey Island.  In 2005, to celebrate our first year in our home, we invited a few neighbors and friends to continue as my parents had.  That first year we had my two brothers, one sister-in-law, Al’s son Chris and his children Dexter, Victor and Zoe.  At different times over the past eight years various family have visited to share the tradition.

Each year as I begin the introduction and history of our celebration I feel deep in my heart the presence of my parents and know that the values I hold today are because the character each of them lived each day of their lives.  I feel I honor them on this day, along with all who have served our country. And the rest of us who work everyday to better our communities.

This year Al and I dedicated the Flag Raising to Jarrod Lallier, the son of our friends Kim and Gary.  He was killed on June 18 in Afghanistan. He would have turned 21 on July 3rd. I feel that our dedication of this event to Jarrod made the event more meaningful.  I’m sure the 44 people standing around our flag pole felt the same.

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