I asked AA Milne and Winnie the Pooh to introduce this week’s topic and they kindly agreed, in exchange for just a little lick of honey, which I fortunately had on hand.
“Handsome bell-rope, isn’t it?” said Owl.
“It reminds me of something,” he said, “but I can’t
think what. Where did you get it?”
“I just came across it in the Forest. It was hanging
over a bush, and I thought at first somebody lived there, so I
rang it, and nothing happened, and then I rang it again very
loudly, and it came off in my hand, and as nobody seemed to
want it, I took it home, and”
“Owl,” said Pooh solemnly, “you made a mistake.
Somebody did want it.”
“Eeyore. My dear friend Eeyore. He was — he was fond
“Fond of it?”
“Attached to it,” said Winnie-the-Pooh sadly.
So with these words he unhooked it, and carried it back
to Eeyore; and when Christopher Robin had nailed it on its
right place again, Eeyore frisked about the forest, waving his
tail so happily that Winnie-the-Pooh came over all funny, and
had to hurry home for a little snack of something to sustain
As I do not have a removable tail that can function as a bell pull, the question remains to be answered: What things am I most attached to?
I have a definite fondness for my antiques. There are the dressers I was lucky enough to inherit from my grandma. My old baby grand piano. And the rather ugly china dogs, also once belonging to the grandma who owned the cool dressers. I would experience some sadness if I was forced to part with these things.
But my most beloved possessions are definitely my books. The Dr. Seuss volumes that survived my childhood. Books that I read aloud to my kids. My antique volumes of Dickens and Tennyson and Louisa Mae Alcott. Old and new, hard cover and paperback, literary or genre, it matters not. Any book I have read and loved, I cherish.
Yes, this means that I have a current shelf problem and the books are double stacked and overflowing. But I have a devious plan which involves turning the entire kids’ loft into a library just as soon as they are all out of the nest.
Over the years I’ve moved multiple times. Not like military family moving, mind you, but enough times to know the weight and significance of a box of books. On one of those early moves – the one where we moved from Edmonton to Chicago with only those belongings we could pack into our Honda CRX – I gave some books away. That was years ago before my college-age son was born, and I still miss some of those volumes with physical sense of loss. I remember the feel of a particular book in my hands, the cover, the smell. For many of them I even remember where and how I came by the book, maybe even what happened the day I first began to read it.
I know we live in an electronic age. I have a Kindle. I read books on it. But given the choice, I always prefer a physical volume that can go on the shelf when the read is over, a visual reminder of the journey I traveled through its pages.
And now, speaking of books and things to which we are attached, I have become quite attached to my sisters here at the Debutante Ball and I am so excited about this book, which is launching in Britain this week:
If you live in the US or Canada, I’m afraid you’ll probably have to wait a few months to get your hands on the North American version, “The Girls’ Guide to Love and Supper Clubs.” Which, by the way, is available for pre-order now at all of the usual places.