Sunday, 16 August 2015

A letter from Julie

A week or so before March House Books closed I received an email from a lady by the name of Julie Drew.  It turns out Julie and I have much in common, a love of books being just one of our shared interests. Since then we've communicated several times, and I'm very happy to say Julie has now agreed to share some of her thoughts here. This is a short excerpt from Julie's first email, there will be more to follow; 

Over to you Julie…

Hello,

My name is Julie Drew and I live in tropical North Queensland, Australia. I often find myself linked onto your magical website, and thoroughly enjoy every moment I spend browsing through your treasures. But today I found your fabulous Aladdin's Cave even better than usual. I made the time to read your entries and feel that we must be kindred spirits, with so many loves which coincide.....

The first of these was your love for your precious Rosie who went off to Rainbow Bridge in 2009. (If you wish you can read about Rosie here)  I almost cried with sadness at the loss of this beautiful little friend, and I know how much you must still miss her. I lost my Tibetan Spaniel, Furble, aged almost 15 in August 2010, and not a day goes by when I do not think of him as I feed my other 3 beloved fur babies.


The second crossover interest is of course my love of old and antique children's books which I have collected since 'acquiring' my now 85 year old Dad's  first edition of Enid Blyton's Boys and Girls Story Book No 2 which he was given back in 1934!! Stories from this were read to us each night at bedtime, for so many years; and was repaired so often by my ever patient mother to the point of it being almost totally rebound. It is completely non-recognisable from the outside, these days, but the contents are totally intact ,thanks to her efforts when I was a child in the 60's! Imagine my delight at discovering that this was one of 6 Annual-style books published by News Chronicle, filled to overflowing with the incomparable works of Enid Blyton back in the days before her Magic Faraway Tree tales which we all know and love so dearly in their original format before Political Correctness went mad and ruined so many old kid's treasures for good!!  I have still got Dad's treasure here, but I also have completed collecting the entire set of the 6 books which I have recently enjoyed reading from Beginning to End! Dad was so very interested to learn that the book he loved so much as a child was just one of 6 which came out annually till 1940. I have been so blessed to be have been raised by parents with this love for the written and illustrated word! Mum passed away at only 42 when I was 17,and I inherited her super collection of books which had meant so much to me while she was still with us. It is the very greatest legacy she could have left for me in the 70's.

Thirdly, I also became besotted with 'The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe'. I was 10 years old, in grade 5 of primary school, and fortunate enough to have a teacher who every Friday afternoon, to end the school week, would read the class a chapter of this amazing book. Every cent of my Christmas money went into buying a Hard Cover copy from the local bookshop!! I then went on to complete the set and still have these with their dust jackets!!   I almost lost 'The Magician's Nephew' for all time though, when it was stolen from my locker in my first year of High School. I was totally heartbroken at this heinous act, and to this day have no idea who stole it. But I vowed that if it took me till the end of my days, I would somehow find a replacement. Well!!! Glory Be!!! After 45 very long years, I did indeed find a copy with the same colour dust jacket, though printed a year later than my others all are!!! Thank heavens for the Internet!! It really is true that everything DOES come to those who are prepared to wait!!!

I have so many favourites among the thousands of books on my shelves (and tables, chairs, and also piles of them on my floors!!!) that it is very hard to say which call the loudest to me. But I can happily name the British Judge, Edward Abbott Parry's eccentric and delicious books 'Katawampus: its Cure and Treatment' with its sequel 'Butterscotia, or a Cheap Trip to Fairyland' as two of my absolute all-time cannot-put-down treasures!!! I only came across them in the past 2 years, both found in UK on completely different sites and a good 6 months or so apart. I have the matching Heinemann editions published in 1927, a good 30 years after they first appeared!! The strangest thing of all though, is that I had, some few years even earlier, been tempted to purchase the third (and final) book to feature the same characters; and it too is in the matching 1927 binding!! Oh Joy of Joys!!!!

Another little gem, and I do mean little, is 'Pigs is Pigs', an American treat by Ellis Parker Butler, from early in the 20th century!! It was actually first published as a short story in the American Illustrated Magazine, and then a few years later as a book in its own right. It was published many times after that in various covers! A bookseller in USA sent me a copy as a gift about 7 years ago due to my love of guinea pigs as well as dogs! I read it through and laughed till my tummy ached!!  I did not even realise till very recently that it has more than once been adapted for film, and even nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short Film, for Walt Disney in 1954!!! Now THAT, I really have to see!!  Again, thank heavens for the internet!

Anyway, I really have taken far too much of your time for now, for someone you have never met!! So if you have not fallen asleep yet, I shall wish you a lovely weekend.

My thanks and many smiles, Julie Drew
July, 2015

27 comments:

  1. What a lovely letter. I have always enjoyed reading your blog - from enjoying your wonderful postcard collection and looking at the bookmarks you've amassed (I'm a fellow bookmark hoarder), to reading about your family history and traveling along with you and your husband on your trips, and loving the beautiful books and illustrations you've shared over the years, not to mention the children's china which I admit I covet.

    And I owe you more than a thank you for those special blog posts - you inspired me to change the name of The Children's War to Alex's Bookshelves, something I've wanted to do for ever so long. So along with Julie Drew, I also thank you for brighening up our days and for giving me a glimpse of what my life would have been like had my dad not immigrated to the US from the UK.

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    1. Hello Alex, thank you so much for your sweet comment. I love your new look and your new name and am thrilled to think I might have played even a small part in it. You mention how your life might have been different had your family stayed in the UK. If you ever feel like writing about your childhood (or your bookmarks!) I would be delighted to publish it here with links back to your blog. Barbara

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  2. Isn't it lovely dearest Barbara, when we connect with others on the other side of the world, or even close by, but all via this wonder of technology? It still amazes me how timely certain relationships are struck up thanks to blogging and now for me, Instagram. Your words, your shares speak volumes to me as well, and there is something truly otherworldly about human communication in all its forms.

    Lovely greetings to you dear one. Anita

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    1. How right you are Anita! I had no idea there were so many genuinely lovely people in the world – I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to get to know lots of them. I include you in that of course – you are one of the very best, Barbara x

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  3. What a lovely letter and thank goodness for the internet! LOL. By the way, you really made my day telling me about the butterflies in your garden!

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    1. Hello Eve, I thought it might make you smile. My hubby has an answer for everything!

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  4. It´s amazing how much we can have in common with another person from across the oceans. Such a lovely letter.

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    1. Hello Darlene, I’m so pleased you enjoyed Julie’s letter. There will be more to come next month. Barbara.

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  5. Barbara, How delightful that you can inspire someone, who you have never met, to write such an interesting letter. For that person to spend time enthusing about books, as you do, makes me think that perhaps my choice of Dinky toys as a child, was not the best idea.

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    1. Hello John, I had endless fun playing with my brother's Dinky toys not that he always approved. I enjoyed burying them in the sandpit (building tunnels!) while he was at school. When I see Dinky toys making large sums of money at auction, I always think of the battered and sand encrusted ones that I probably ruined!

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  6. What a lovely letter from Julie! I am glad her parents passed on to her such a love of books and reading. It sounds like she has some special books in her collection- both ones from her own childhood and her parents'. How wonderful that Julie was able to find you and connect to you through the internet (as well as use it to track down books and book bits). :) Letters are one of my favorite things. Thanks for sharing this one with us!

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    1. Hello Stephanie, I feel very blessed to have met Julie and to be able to share her thoughts with my lovely blogging friends.

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  7. How lovely. Its amazing that friendships can be formed in such a way. Great post, I look forward to reading more of Julie's emails.

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    1. Hi Tracy, Julie has many interesting tales to tell, and I look forward to sharing them.

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  8. What a lovely letter and a wonderful connection across all those miles. Hope all is well and that you're settling into life after March House Books! Ruth x

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    1. Hi Ruth, I’m not sure I am settling into life after March House Books to be honest. I’m still trying to fill the empty shelves – they look so forlorn minus all the books. I decided it would be nice to have rows of pretty boxes – but have you looked at the price of them? Then I decided I would buy ordinary brown stock boxes and pretty them up, but none of them are the right size. It’s no good I will have to buy more books! xx

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  9. I enjoyed reading Julie's letter, very interesting, really looking forward to read more.
    Have a great day :)

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    1. Hello Aunt Mary, I'm pleased you enjoyed the letter - I will be sharing more as time goes on. Thanks for your visit, Barbara

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  10. What a very lovely story! Would you like me to get my five-year-old granddaughter to make some 'pretend' books for your shelves Barbara? She's very good at that!

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  11. Hi human, Barbara,

    What a pawesome letter from Julie. Such a connection and a bond of friendship. Magic in the books and the interaction you have shared.

    Pawsitive wishes and doggy kisses,

    Penny xx

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    1. Hi Penny (Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!)
      How lovely to hear from you. I hope both you and Gary are well and enjoying some sunshine – not that there is much of it around at the moment.
      Hugs & tickles, Barbara.

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  12. Dear Barbara what a lovely letter. Internet indeed has made it possible for like minded people to connect. How lovely that you got to know Julie.

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    1. Dear Shashi, I can’t believe the number of lovely people (like you and Julie) I’ve met online – it has really opened up my world, and I’m sure that is true for many thousands of other people.

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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