My adult daughter began her clearing out of the childhood bedroom last week. After some fairly easy culling of bits of craft projects, 6th-grade ceramics efforts, broken sea shells, pencil stubs, dried-up bright-colored shaped erasers and outgrown clothing, the bookshelves had to be tackled.
She had no idea how many books she really had. We found them overflowing the shelves, under the bed, on the bedstand, in the toy box and in the closet. Reviewing the stacks was a journey back to her childhood, from YA paperbacks to Goodnight Moon; no fewer than ten oversized books claiming to be The Complete Guide to Horses, the Horse, Horsemanship, Care and Treatment of the Horse…not to mention similar books on dogs, cats, and guinea pigs. All of the Harry Potters and two sets of Chronicles of Narnia, the Time Garden books by Edward Eager, Rumer Godden’s Doll stories and Dover reprints of classic E. Nesbitt books, picture books for toddlers and collections of short stories and poems for children of all ages. Black Stallion novels and Marguerite Henry’s works and the animal novels by Felix Salten.
This experience was a physical and emotional and, I suppose, intellectual transition for her as she begins to look at what her life ahead may be and what texts she will want to keep as guides and as talismans.
A battered copy of The Phantom Tollbooth. Yes. The Runaway Bunny. Yes. Centered Riding. Yes. All of Laurie R. King’s mystery and adventure novels. Yes.
We moved about a third of her books into the give-away pile. Wrenching! Yet of course, what she saved still overflows the available shelf space.
What is the old saying about apples not falling far from the tree?