It was a quiet, Saturday morning as my husband and I strolled along the waterfront. We opted for a different route than usual, bypassing the tree-lined street with friendly pedestrians. Mocha in hand, we sat on a bench and stared out at the rippling waves and bridge in the distance. As the temperature rose, and the heat burned into our backs, we decided to make our way to the car. As we arrived back once more to the main street with the quaint storefronts filled with antiques, one in particular caught our eye. It was the Blue Goose. Paper signs prominently filled the large, pane window announcing, “Retirement Sale.”
We walked into the store and noticed the sparse furnishings and collectibles. It was obvious people were taking advantage of the sale to bring home a cherished piece of history. The type you can only find in an antique store. As we perused the remaining contents, I was instantly drawn to a small stack of books on a table. I smiled. Walking over, I began to gingerly lift each volume. It was while going through the second stack of books that I came across a lovely memory. A 1922 copy of Annie Fellows Johnston’s novel, The Little Colonel.
I was suddenly back to being a little girl, watching the re-run of this classic tale featuring Shirley Temple. The songs, the dancing, the story floated through my mind. In my hands, I held the author’s version. With its original dust jacket, and pages aged brown through the years, I tentatively opened the book. I found an inscription that read, “From Aunt Lil and Uncle Herb.” I wondered about the child who was the recipient of this gift. And I wondered how many children had read this book throughout the years?
It was in that moment that I knew I had to take it home. Unfortunately, since we were out walking I had left my wallet behind. I asked the kindly store owner if she would hold the book for me while I went to go get cash. She smiled as I handed over my treasured find. Without a word, she opened the book and removed the small price tag from inside the cover before returning the book to me. Her next word was simply, “enjoy.” She told me she had been giving away books to children all morning. From the delight on my face, she must have figured I was just a big kid. I then shared with her that I was a children’s author, and that I was grateful to add The Little Colonel to my collection.
I will never know the history of this particular book. How many lives it touched, or how many smiles it produced. But, I can tell you that it touched one heart today. I look forward to tenderly turning page after page as I delve back into my childhood memories.
It was one of the prettiest places in all Kentucky where the Little Colonel stood that morning. She was reaching up on tiptoes, her eager little face pressed close against the iron bars of the great entrance gate that led to a fine old estate known as “Locust.” A ragged little Scotch and Skye terrier stood on its hind feet beside her, thrusting his inquisitive nose between the bars, and wagging his tasselled tail in lively approval of the scene before them. [Source: Amazon.com]
One must remember when reading this novel that it was originally written (copyright 1895) in the Victorian era when slavery was rampant. Some of the descriptive language definitely has the potential to offend the reader, and I cannot condone parts of the dialog that have a lack of respect for others. With that said, we must put everything into perspective. We cannot change history. All we can do now as a society is continue to grow and respect one another. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy this early novel that transports us back over a hundred years into our past.
Have you ever come across your own treasured find? The kind that warmed your heart. If so, I would love to hear your story and share in that special moment with you.
Wishing you the best,