Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Sanctity of Little Women

There are some books that I can never turn my back on. Even if I already have several copies of it, I have to just keep accumulating them because the story is so significant to me. Little Women is one of those books.

I recently sorted through a large pile of books that were donated to the library, and there was a perma-bound edition of Little Women in there. The library didn't need another copy, and I already own many copies and versions of the book, but I couldn't leave it. Besides, I justify it because I didn't have a copy with that cover art.

I love the bubble-gum pink color, and the black and white etching illustration because we always think that black and white equates simplicity, but the pattern at the hem of the dress is very detailed, and it symbolizes the complexities of womanhood, sisterhood, love, marriage and other themes are are central to the story.

And then just yesterday, I was at my local library and there were a couple books I grabbed from the free book cart:

The first one is a 1950's abridged version, and I am always a sucker for vintage books. But the other book is very significant because it proves a reality that I blogged about not too long ago. In that post, I wrote about how one woman was confused by the fact that Beth didn't die in the version of Little Women that she read with her daughter. The explanation is simple; the woman was clearly reading a publication that was only Little Women, the first book, and did not contain the second book Good Wives, which was published a year afterwards. Although most modern publications combine the two stories, clearly there are still some versions that separate the volumes. And the book with purple cover is obviously a modern book, but it specifically says that it is Book Two: Good Wives

If a reader was new to this story, she might wonder why the book begins with Meg's wedding.

Just for fun, here's a couple other copies of Little Women that line my shelves:

Gotta love the vintage copies!

Both of these editions have the same illustrations by Louis Jambor, but the covers are different.

An older version of just the second volume- I found it at a thrift store.

The book on the left is very special to me; it's the first Little Women book I ever read. Obviously, it's a very shortened version of the story, which is based on the 1994 film, but it is what began my love for this story.  I was sick in bed, so I spent the days reading it. I remember I finally convinced my mom to take me to see the movie in the theater, and just as I was putting my coat on, the doctor called, saying that my strep throat test was positive. So I had to get back in bed, and wait until I was better to see the movie. UGH! I was so mad.

The book on the right is another film adaptation, for even younger readers.

I guess I just can't say no to this story.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Rockin' Out

Labor Day is the official end to summer. I just wanted to spend it with my two loves, and I also wanted to do/see something new, so I turned to my new best friend Atlas Obscura for some ideas for cheap (or better yet, FREE) daytrips. We decided to go see the Madison Boulder, which is the largest glacial erratic (piece of rock that was carried by glacial ice) in New England. It's 83 feet long, 23 feet high (above the ground), 37 feet wide and weighs approximately 5,000 tons. The land that surrounds it was acquired by the state in 1946. Here's a photo of us in front of it, just so you can get an idea of its size:

The park is about 17 acres, and there are paths winding through the mossy woods that are perfect for wandering and walking. Pets are permitted, but I didn't think my cats and rabbits would have cared to come along.

My husband snapped this picture of me and my son as we stopped to look over a creek, and I love that we're both wearing tie dye.

I'm sad that summer is over, but road trips in the fall are always the best.

Friday, September 1, 2017

For Madeline

Three years ago today is burned into my brain.

I try to keep this blog more professional than personal, so I've never written about this before.

However, the library profession is dedicated to promoting knowledge in all forms. Anything that can help anyone understand, or feel understood, is worth writing and reading.

I spent that afternoon with a friend, helping her clear out her grandparents' home. The house had an amazing assortment of items that had not been claimed by the family, the antique brokers, estate sale shoppers, and yard sale pickers, so she invited us to come over and pick out things that we might like for our newly purchased home. It was a great time, and after we all went for pizza. That night, I was looking for something in the garage, when Eric shouted to me that my dad was on the phone. That's when I found out.

Just earlier that day, I had been scrolling through my Facebook feed, and I clicked on the photos you were uploading. You were celebrating a friend's birthday, and you were posting pictures that are not unusual for a 20 year old. I specifically remember thinking how much I liked your lipstick color, and how it made your smile look so bright.

At first I could not believe it. I thought "No, it's just someone that looks like her. Someone with a similar name. Someone with the same kind of car. It must be a mistake."  And then I thought that maybe there was another type of miscommunication; maybe you were in an accident, and you were badly hurt, but still with us.

It just didn't seem possible. You're 20 years old: having fun with friends, posting goofy pics. Just a few months beforehand, I hugged you goodbye as we walked out the bowling alley benefit, for my cousin on the other side of the family.  A couple years before that, you were at my wedding. When you were a little girl, I played Barbie's with you in your basement, and we somehow combined The Little Mermaid with an Austin Powers storyline.

I saw you in the hospital, when you were just a couple hours old.  My brother and I weren't allowed in, so your mom brought you into the hallway so we could see you. I always used to tease you that we listened to "Whoomp, There It Is" on repeat as we drove your sister to meet you.

You were the first newborn baby I'd ever seen before. The second newborn I would see would be my son. I wanted to honor you, so I took your initials M and J, and reversed them. You are Madeline Joan. He is John Matthew.

We planted sunflowers in our front yard. I have visited your headstone, but I much prefer to think of you while I look at those flowers. They are so vibrant, and full of life right now, and that's how I like to think of you.

I do not know the person that made this short film, but he did a wonderful job. If you ever met her, you should watch it so that you can see her face again. If you've never met her, or heard of her until now, then you can still watch it. I'm sure the creator would enjoy knowing how far his film has reached. And I know it makes all of us who miss her feel a little closer.