Fusty is a word. Fusty and musty share space in my synonym finder. Now, if I can only recall the word during my next cut-throat Scrabble game. Old books do something to me, the way they feel and smell. I inherited a box of old books from my parents via my writer-grandmother; Stevenson’s Treasure Island, a first edition copy of Ben Hur-The Tale of Christ, Mark Twain’s Innocents Abroad dated 1899, a collection of poems by Robert Browning. The books don’t sit in airtight boxes for protecton; they’re out in the open where I can enjoy their mystery.
Who owned these books? How many homes and hands did they travel through? What impact did these classics have on the readers? One thing I do know, my fusties won’t be donated to any eager book collectors in my lifetime. I can imagine my daughters someday tossing them on the giveaway pile because this author’s offspring never acquired the “awe” for books. Raised on a ranch, they were too busy grooming 4-H animals to sit and savor words like Mom did. Being a lonely-only child, books were my pals helping me escape to another world. They spoke to me in the secret place in my soul where I searched for meaning.
Where our treasure is, there will our heart be also the Bible says. The books we collect define us. If you want to know someone in a hurry, peruse her bookshelf and you’ll find what are her interests, passions, and value system.
What do my fusty old books say about me? That I’m stuck in the past? No,but I have a passion for history that grows as I age. I want to embrace each moment of life in this crazy modern culture with a respect for our rich past and the invaluable lessons it will teach us.