I was discussing with my student teacher that I like it when people personalize books when they give them as gifts. It was her last day working with me and she gave me a very nice book of nature photography because she knew it was an interest of mine. The book was very nice and I the only thing about it that disappointed me was that there was no inscription. I have always liked when someone gives me a book that they write a nice message inside so that I can always remember the reason and person that gave it to me.
We talked about personalizing books at lunch and someone mentioned that they thought that was an “east coast” tradition. Well, since I am from Cleveland… I have no idea where I got the idea! (My student teacher did write in my new book!)
It reminded me of the time I bought a book for my father for his birthday (or maybe father’s day… they were both pretty close together) My father was not a reader. He only finished the 8th grade and I think books kind of scared him. When he was promoted into management his biggest fear was that he would need to read something out loud which he knew he did not do well. But, while I was in college I found a book I thought he might like so I mailed it to him.
The funny thing is, when he got it in the mail I was actually on the phone talking with my Mom. I could hear him in the background when he saw it. Since I was in college I had more time than money so I sent it “book rate”. That saved me a couple dollars at the post office. So, when my Dad saw the package on the table while my Mom was on the phone talking to me I could hear (and picture) the scene perfectly.
“Who’s this box for?--- Oh, its for me!” says Dad. I can hear it being moved across their kitchen table. “From Ilene…. Book rate? A book? What is she sending me a book for??!”
Moms says, “Well your birthday is coming up…… maybe its for that.”
“She knows I don’t like books, why would she send this?!” He has no idea that I can hear him because he did not notice Mom was on the phone. I can hear the paper being ripped off the book as he continues to mumble about the fact that I do not even know what he likes for his birthday. He sees the cover and says, “Oh! Cars from the 50’s, hmmmm…”
I wrote an inscription in that book about how I thought he’d like seeing all the old cars. The next time I saw him he thanked me for the book and said he thought it was nice. He never really talked about it much after that though. At his funeral, one of his buddies came up and asked me if I was the daughter that gave him that car book. He told me that my father used to study it and then win bets with that book when he “proved” he knew car facts…. Apparently he carried it around with him in his truck. ☺