Florence wanted more. She was my husband's grandmother. Florence lived in the next town over from Yale. Those days, some lectures were opened to the public. One could attend a lecture, get a good education without paying tuition to Yale. I think the reason that Florence wanted a good education has to do with her choice of a husband and their choice of where they built their home.
Albert was a golf club maker, working at a local golf club. They built their home right next to the golf course. They met the attorneys and bankers on the golf course.
So, Florence attended lectures at Yale. She was especially interested in American literature and the lectures she attended were given by a man named Phelps. You can read about him in Wikipedia....if I ever remember his whole name. There is a chair at Yale named after him.
Doctor Phelps lectured on American Literature. Florence bought the books. On her bookshelf is Sam Clemens, Hawthorn, Alcott. She collected poetry and Russian authors, as Russian literature was an interest of Professor Phelps. In the collection is the entire works of Dickens. Florence turned out to be a well read person. She collected good watercolors that she displayed on her walls.
Florence's daughter was Mae. Mae is the mother of my husband, Bob. I never met either woman, but I feel I know them through the possessions they left behind. Mae was a reader, too. The collection of books grows to include James Fennimore Cooper, Bronte, Shakespeare. The collection lightens with O. Henry, William Saroyan, and Reader's Digest condensed books. The Reader's Digest books are printed on cheap paper with a high acid content. They are disintegrating on the shelf, but still readable.
I am adding my own collection of books to this library because I had the good fortune of inheriting these priceless works of literature through my husband. Mine are on gardening, on art, home repair, holistic health, dysfunctional families, child development. Fiction includes Harry Potter series, Steig Larsson's "The Girl Who...." series, detective stories, Sinclair Lewis, science fiction .
All are gone now. Their footprints are left behind: their books, their watercolors, school primers, their gardens, canning and sewing supplies. ...and their wonderful son and grandson who has joined them in heaven. What is left is the rich environment they left me filled with books worth reading and watercolors now displayed on my walls. I've added my own collection of paintings.
To Mae's piano and stack of piano music, I add my own.
I go to the backyard to pull weeds from the lilac bush that Mae planted. The day lilies are from Florence's yard. The rose is my own.
Labels: three generations of readers