Monday, August 25, 2008

Are We Sinking?

My mother is a hoarder. Her home is full, to the roof, with books and silver and magazines and furniture and antiques and wonderful things and scary things and every kind of thing you could imagine. Every once in a while we go in, make sure she can walk around, and creep out, disturbing nothing. I like to announce, to anyone who might hear, that I am nothing like my mother. And this is true in various respects, but ooh yes we have quite a bit of stuff. Now, I love garbage day. I relish going through things and tossing, making big huge piles of things we have outgrown, outlasted or simply no longer like. But my friend Jeffy, who has known me for a very long time, calls our apartment the Rubik's cube, and that is a teeny bit appropriate. The things that never make it to the toss pile? Books. The husband is convinced that we are sinking further and further into the ground every year, much like the Library of Congress. He seems convinced that one morning, quite soon, we might wake up on top of the lovely French family who lives downstairs. This is, of course, just silly. The Library of Congress has not yet sunk, we are years away from that happening.
Pictured here, the bottom two shelves of a four shelf bookcase in our family room. The lower shelf belongs to the girls: Golden Books on the left, then paperbacks and finally, hardbacks. I love children's books. I buy all the books I remember from my childhood: Frog and Toad, Eloise Wilkin Golden Books, Harry the Dirty Dog, Paddington Bear, Babar, Eloise, Madeline, Lyle the Crocodile...the list is extensive. Then I wander into any of my three favorite bookstores in Chicago (Women and Children First, The Unabridged Bookstore and The Book Cellar) and find that people are still out there writing wonderful children's books. Today, while out shopping for an addition to their dollhouse, a birthday gift, I bought Adele and Simon in America (Barbara McClintock) because they love the original Adele and Simon, and President Pennybaker (Kate Feiffer) because the convention starts today, celebrate the season, cheers!

We've outgrown our book capacity. The shelves in the living room are stacked two deep, the bookcase in the girls room is stuffed and overflowing. I've removed all decorative objects in lieu of books, how terribly utilitarian. Clearly we cannot help my mother, cannot encourage her to "de hoard"; what if she decides to part with some of those books? I would have to take them in and give them a good home. Sorry Mom.

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