Yesterday launched the county historical association’s “garage” sale, a massive undertaking that funds public programs for the coming year, held in a regional company’s warehouse. It’s a many splendored thing, a curiosity cabinet writ large. One year, we went to donate something and came across a doll exactly like one I’d had as a child in California.
This year, I looked at books and was a marvel of restraint.
A bookstore is a beacon to me, and I’ll visit the Friends of the Library shop whenever I’m in the building, a local store while on vacation, an Oxfam shop when abroad, and browse the knitting books at Barnes & Noble if I’ve stopped for coffee during my commute.
So when I started to come across little black-and-white hand-lettered signs, it didn’t take long for me to recognize them as ones that demarcated the sections of a bookstore. A bookstore that sold a lot of romance novels, and much else besides.
At first I thought the signs were clever and amusing, picking up several thinking maybe I’d keep a few and give some as gifts. Concerned I’d gotten carried away, I actually weeded my selection of them before going to the register. Mistake! When I wiped them off and set them randomly on the downstairs bookshelves, I discovered I had too few, not too many and dashed back to the sale to see if any of my discards remained. Someone else had collected ‘Health’ and ‘Biography,’ but I found ‘Education,’ and a few others. I love the effect.
The signs had been scattered throughout the sale, so my effort to locate more meant meandering through the aisles. And I found this little tonal needlework silhouette of a man and woman winding a skein of wool into a ball:
Surely, it was meant to be mine.