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I had the best day with you today

All right! Guilt spiral over...

I cannot even stress how great today was. First, since neither of had time for breakfast, we went to this lovely little diner in the city, where the prices were pretty decent (everything was $8-12 for a nice big plate of food), the menu looked amazing, the service was perfect, and the atmosphere was just right -- calm and quiet, but not totally deserted, either. I definitely want to go back there. Then we went to the bookstore so I could pick out my Christmas present, and I came home with these glorious treasures:

The best part is, I had never heard of any of these. Usually when I buy old books, it's either because I know and love them, or I have others by the author, or I have at least seen them mentioned online somewhere. So not only am I getting glorious treasure books to keep, I'm getting new stories to read.

1. Three White Stockings - Moyra Charlton. 1933.

I cannot stress what excellent condition this is in -- other than a pasted-in nameplate** and a price clipped jacket, it's almost like new. Tight binding, a beautiful jacket that has only the tiniest of tears here and there. The image on the cover is actually a separate page pasted onto the jacket, so I'm really impressed it stayed in good condition. Narrated Black Beauty style by the horse on the cover, it's apparently the "true story of an Irish steeplechaser," and written by a 15-year-old author. It has 6 charcoal illustrations.

**the nameplate says "From the private library of Alice Louise McGandy," the name pre-printed. I wish I could have met that nice lady before her collection scattered to the winds, because when the clerk saw it, she remembered there were a lot more children's books w/ animals from this person that hadn't been put out yet, and actually invited us to come back and look at them. There I found several magnificent old, oversized illustrated dog books that ranged in price from $30 to $90 (!!) also bearing her nameplate. Clearly a woman with exceptional taste in literature and collectibles.

P.S. Googling to learn about said author has led me to this post and now I want to hunt down ALL THE 1940S PONY BOOKS.

2. Good Old Clipsy - Elizabeth Palmer. 1941, inscribed w/ name & date of 1950.
The story of an adorable Cocker Spaniel (Clipsy!!), her six unexpected puppies, and the family full of kids that loves her. Many, many cheerful illustrations in black and white with orange accents.

3. The Little Kingdom - Hughie Call. 1964.
Found this in general fiction, as it is "a mother's tender memory of her child's private world," but has sketch illustrations throughout, and other than the narrator being an adult, it seems to be written in much the same style as juvenile books. Larger print, simpler writing -- basically, it's the mother chronicling her young daughter's attachment to her menagerie of pets, both wild rescues and domestic, on their ranch. It also looks like the pets are constantly being lost or given up for various reasons, soooo, I'm kind of expecting to get really upset and cry a lot, but I think the journey is going to be magical.

*In addition to a nameplate bearing an address from Eden Prairie, MN, this is inscribed with a "Merry Christmas" from 1969, so I'm like d'awww, and 44 years later it was a Christmas gift again!
And in case all that was not enough, Chris' parents got me this:
(second image to illustrate its cute and compact nature. I LOVE TINY COMPACT HARDCOVERS. Especially if they have glossy pages and are filled with color photos of adorable dogs)

He ended up taking me home right after that; somehow just a few hours out on the town leaves us both worn out, especially if the sun is setting. But before I went inside, I made him open his presents -- the first was the one he asked for, Aimless Love by Billy Collins (a book of poems with an admittedly adorable cover), and the second was The Voice at 3:00 AM by Charles Simic. It's from my creative writing class in college and it's been in my to-sell pile for months, when I looked at it today and went, "Huh. This seems an awful lot like the sort of poems Chris likes." The author came to our class, actually - every day, I kick myself for not having him sign it; can't remember why I didn't.

Anyway, I still wasn't a hundred percent sure my instincts were correct, but he was touched that I "knew him that well," and seemed intrigued. So I'm going to let instincts keep working for me.

It has been the best day.


Rod Macleod
Feb. 5th, 2015 08:21 am (UTC)
Re: Moyra Charlton
I suppose there is a story. Perhaps the answer is that she didn't go to school! She did attend a Dame school in Washington, D.C., where she lived as a small girl when her father was Military Attache at the British Embassy. On return to England she had lessons at home from a governess who was inspirational in literature and history. Her cousin and close friend, Sheila Bishop, shared those lessons and also became a successful writer. Moyra's first book, 'Tally Ho', was written secretly when she was eleven, in the loft of a medieval granary in the garden.

The house she lived in, Great Canfield Park, was a historic manor house, once a royal hunting lodge, and she and her cousin became besotted by all things Elizabethan. They conjured up stories after lights out and one of these, about an Elizabethan family in Devon, became 'The Story'. It continued to grow as the two girls grew up, through six years of war and the early years of their marriages, and nine of their later books were based on it to some degree (I still have 'The Story'; an old chocolate box containing handwritten notebooks).

Moyra was called up two days after the outbreak of WW2, joining the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. In March 1940 she left for France, as one of seventy female ambulance drivers sent out with the British Expeditionary Force. Falling back before the German advance, she was evacuated from St Malo several days after Dunkirk, her ambulance burnt on the quayside before they left.

For the next two years she served as driver in Essex for her father, a career soldier who had come out of retirement as a Zone Commander for the Home Guard. In 1942 she joined the Royal Navy, driving an ambulance during the bombing of Dartmouth. She subsequently trained as an officer and returned to Dartmouth as a code officer, involved in the build-up to ‘D’ Day. She spent the last year of the war in Scotland, where she met my father, a dashing young naval officer. They married in 1946 and went to live in the Sudan, where he worked in government service until independence.

Sorry - I didn't mean to reply at such length, but I'm glad you enjoyed her book!

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