Monday, February 27, 2012

A Penny for your Thoughts

Several years ago I found myself digging through a glass front bookcase in an old junk shop that had been closed up for many years.

I remembered the funky old junk shop from my youth and had always wondered why it was still there with the shades drawn, seemingly abandoned and locked up tight.

And then one day while visiting the shop across the street I noticed that the door was open and there was someone inside!

I promptly left the shop I was in, crossed the street and eagerly entered the old junk shop that suddenly showed signs of life!

To my surprise there was a gentleman there who was selling the contents of the shop.

He informed me that he had come from Montana to help liquidate "the treasures" in his aunt's shop to get it ready to rent out.

She was very old and frail and not long for this world.

I imagine she got too old to run the shop but couldn't bear to part with her treasures and so she  locked the door all those years ago leaving everything exactly as it was.

I felt an immediate bond with her nephew and visited the shop several times over the next month as he would continually find and price more of her "treasures."

One particular day, my husband and I were in the neighborhood walking our friend's dog and I noticed he was open.

This time he had several boxes, tables and bookcases full of books.

As I began to peruse the selections, another woman came into the shop and joined me.

I guess you could call it providence, but I reached in and pulled out this curious old tome.

I gasped upon opening it realizing that it was no ordinary book.

I asked, "how much for the book?" 
 He replied ten dollars.

All of a sudden the woman tried to grab it from me saying that she wanted to buy it.  I looked at her bemused telling her it wasn't for sale.  She wildly went over to my husband saying that she would pay me $100 for it and that he should make me take it!

My husband and I looked at each other feeling badly for the gentleman who had just sold it to me.

It was more than awkward to say the least.

So, about the book...

Has anyone ever seen anything like this before?
It's pretty incredible. I get nervous just opening it, it's so old and fragile.

It appears to me to have been written over several generations by members of the same family.

It's sprinkled with poems and 4 leaf clovers.

And it's definitely from this area.

I've yet to show it to anyone, but I'm thinking of taking several pieces of art to Bonhams and Butterfield in San Francisco in the next few weeks and was thinking that I should bring this along with me.

In the meantime, I thought maybe one of you might be knowledgeable about this sort of thing and could enlighten me or give me some advice.

This curious little book/diary is most certainly an incredible treasure!


sharon santoni at my french country home said...

What a curious book Terri and a wonderful thing to have found. Clearly not all the writing is by the same person, but the pages with dates are very hard to understand since they seem to have been written at the same time. I'd love to hear if you find anything more about it.
What a ghastly woman!! I'm sure you found the best way to deal with a tricky situation; how I hate it when people behave badly!
love to you

jeanette from everton terrace said...

How wonderfully curious. I have no information for you but certainly hope someone does!

larajanepark said...

I too, would love to hear what you discover about this book!

Pamela Hunt Lee said...

A wonderful mystery. Did the family record their names anywhere?

Unknown said...

That is a very cool find. Sorry I can't help you out :( Can't wait to hear what you discover about it. -Al

helen tilston said...

Hi Terri

What a treasure and the story on your finding it. I am so glad you did not let that lady have the book. Looking forward to hearing more on this find.

Wishing you much success at Bonhams in SFO


Anonymous said...

Just curious, but did you ask the aggressive woman why she wanted the book so badly?

lvroftiques said...

I'm wondering the same thing as anon....Did you ask that obnoxious woman why she wanted it? It certainly is an odd and wonderful treasure! I think it's a good idea to have an expert look at it.I wish I could help. I'm certainly interested in hearing about what you find out. I LOVE a good mystery! Vanna

La Brocanteuse said...

It is a good thing you found the book first, or perhaps it found you...and has a story to tell....please keep us informed should you get more info....
This is what movies are made of.... Colx

Anonymous said...

What a treasure (not so the creepy, "Grabby McGraberson" customer). I am conjecturing, but it seems as if it's a log cabin journal of sorts. As if the families left it in a family cabin to journal their recuperation from illnesses?

Finding the store open gives me goose bumps, in a good way!