How did you get into the Book Business?
Long Story - Medium Length Version
My parents loved going to auctions. There were regular "sales" in the Philadelphia area that we attended, as a family, on Mondays, Thursdays, and Fridays. On most Saturdays we drove out to the Lancaster County Amish country for auctions there. About once a month, in the Summer, we would go to auctions at Point Pleasant, PA, on the Delaware River above New Hope. My brother and I liked this auction best. They had great food for lunch. We could skip stones in the old Delaware Canal. And we could play with local kids along the canal or in the barns of their farms. For city kids these trips were idyllic, and are never to be forgotten. In some future blog I'll write more about those auction days of old.
Well - Aside from the main auction building, there were a few out-buildings at Point Pleasant. One of these was taken over one year (around 1950?) by a bookseller (?). The walls were lined with over-filled bookshelves. As the months passed the floors became covered with books, pamphlets, magazines and printed trash. I can still picture the sight. It was as if he had used a front-end loader to dump the stuff into the building. There was no way not to walk on the scattered mass. Very few people ever went in.
At five years old I went everywhere so the mess on the floor and the tottering shelves held no menace, though I remember some distaste at walking on papers and books. Quite quickly I found something on the floor that I just had to have. I asked the old man there how much it was. Fifty Cents. Oh my! 50 cents for what he treated as trash! I was shocked. I screwed up my courage and asked my dad if I could have fifty cents so that I could buy something from the book man. I was surprised when he gave me two quarters. . . and I'm pretty sure that the book guy was surprised when I held up the quarters in one hand and the pamphlet in the other.
He said, "take good care of that" [Which I thought was rather funny considering its rescue from his trash heap]. I started reading it that very night - and was hooked.
The picture above is from that very same pamphlet (now lacking the pictorial wraps).
The Philadelphia Record Almanac for 1898.
By the way... after holding on to it for over 55 years my almanac is not worth very much more in the marketplace than I paid for it - but its value as a talisman is beyond calculation.
... To Be Continued ...