Books and Memories

From the writing desk of Christine Mazurk

As I put the finishing touches to the first draft of Mike Dawson's Story (still untitled), dozens of University students come and go from the building across the street. Most carry backpacks, but I can't tell you how many I've watched juggle several electronic devices as well as a stack of books. More than once, I've watched them spill from their hands to scatter across the sidewalk. Is care for personal items no longer a precedence?

I ask that because as a child growing up, not only my favorite teachers influenced my desire to write, but my mother's collection of books made an impact. They sat on the shelf above the encyclopedias. I know I'm dating myself, but the encyclopedias were my only source of research for papers in grade school. I used them often and for a variety of projects.

Each time I pulled one off the shelf, I looked at the leather bound collection of Ernest Hemingway books: The Old Man and The Sea, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Death in the Afternoon, and To Have and Have Not. They fascinated me. Sitting next to the Hemingway's books was a collection of books by Daphne du Maurier: Jamaica Inn and Hungry Hill to name a few. My mother read these books in the late 40's through the 50's to learn the English language.

You see, she met my dad during WWII. She lived with her widowed mother in Tunisia and spoke French. My father was an English soldier, and you guessed it, he didn't speak French. They communicated for several years through translated letters, slowly learning a bit of each language. They wed in June 1948 and were married 46 years when my dad passed.

He first took her to England where is youngest sister and his father lived. From there, they moved to Montreal, Canada where his two older sisters lived. Those books were bought while they lived in Canada. We moved to Miami, Florida when I was six, and the books found their new home above the encyclopedias.

When my mom passed in 2002, the only request I made of my two older brothers was I wanted those books. They now sit on the top shelf of my book case in my office. Once in awhile, I'll pull one down, flip to a random page, and read a paragraph for inspiration. (Don't laugh, but I put a copy of Passion's Race, Sisters Of Spirit, and Mystical Connections next to the collections, thinking it certainly can't hurt to be in the company of such Greats! Okay, go ahead and laugh ... but you never know.)

I will care for them as my mother did, and I'll pass them on to my son with the request that they go to the next generation, my granddaughter, then her children, and their children and so on. They may be worth a lot of money, but in my mind, they're PRICELESS!

What treasures of your parents' have you kept?  

Well, I'm off to read an inspirational paragraph before continuing on Mike Dawson's Story. Until next time - Hugs and Happy Reading.


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