Books from Way Back

“Ginny Gordon and the Lending Library” was one of the first books my older sister, Hanna, bought for me as a payment for babysitting for her. She was 13 years older than me and I was a very young babysitter, but this was in the 50s when very few houses had locks on their doors. There was no need for locks as crime was extremely rare. The worst thing that happened was that for a few nights someone went up our street and stole the milk money people had put in their empty milk bottles at the end of their walkway, ready for the milkman who delivered the milk in the morning.

I had no reason to worry about being left at my sister’s house without adult supervision, babysitting for her from age 9 until I was about 12. There were only two times that I got spooked, and both times were because of listening (before the days of TV) to scary radio shows. One was a story called The Monkey’s Paw, and another was The Maltese Falcon. I often listened to Richard Diamond detective stories on the radio in those days, as well. Scary stories, but I couldn’t make myself turn them off.

Already, I had a love of stories, so the books Hanna bought for me  were treasures. Each Friday night, when she and her husband went out grocery shopping and to a movie, I waited impatiently to see what the title of this week’s book would be. They were usually published by the Whitman Company of Wisconsin, and cost about 69  cents. After a while I had quite an extensive collection of Whitman books and I loved every one of them.

When you move 800 miles away, it’s necessary to leave some things behind. Books are heavy and take up space, so I was only able to take a few of my treasures with me. Now, decades later, one of my younger sisters mentioned that she had some old books in a box of “stuff” that she salvaged from our parents’ house before it was sold.

Last week she surprised me with this collection of books from my very early days.

Notice that there are two Annie Oakley books in the collection. No wonder we played Annie Oakley games at home. Here is the sister who saved my books, sitting in an old trunk, playing Annie Oakley.

Wasn’t it sweet of her to bring me those old treasures from my childhood days?