Yesterday I made three trips to the new thrift shop open by Clear Space Productions. All three trips were made with boxes of books. One box I offered to help a friend and pick up and deliver his box of no longer wanted books. He doesn’t have the space to store them anymore. That encouraged me to finally start going through my books and make the hard decision as to what I no longer want to keep. I’ve been collecting books ever since I started to read books. I always wanted a library with walls of books. The first books I read I checked out of the Downingtown Library. I remember how comforting it was to browse through the library, looking for books I wanted to read. Back in those days (The Fifties), one had a library card. The books were checked out for two week intervals. If it took you longer to read the book (which it didn’t with me) you could extend your borrowing period. It didn’t take me long to fill up my library card. I felt so proud when I filled up one library card and the librarian had to issue me a new library card. I filled up many library cards during my elementary school years.
Over the years I have collected thousands of books. My first collections were paperback books. When I got a real job making real money, I joined the Book-of-the-Month Club (I don’t know if they even exist anymore.) Then I started to seriously collect books, thus building one book at a time that Wall of Books. When I built my home in Pennsylvania in 1981, I had built in bookcases in the living room. It didn’t take me long to fill up those bookcases. Bill persuaded me to part with most of my thousands of paperback books and I agreed. For the twenty five years we lived in Pennsylvania I finally had my own library. Then we moved.
Now I had to move thousands of heavy books. The moving company charged by the pound. This was going to be an expensive proposition moving all these books. It was an expensive proposition. I moved the books to my new home in Delaware. I don’t have a built in bookcase in my Delaware home. In fact, I don’t even have a separate living room which I could call “the library.” The books sat in their moving boxes until Bill started to unpack them last summer and put them in temporary bookshelves in the basement that he built. I had also purchased two unpainted bookcases (which I have yet to paint.) I will fill those new bookcases with the books I decide to keep.
Did I want another Wall of Books? Do I want a library? No, not really. Not at this point in my life. While I still enjoy a good book (I always have one of two books I’m in the process of reading – one at my bed and the other in my bathroom), I don’t need the Library. Thus, it was time to make the Big Decision. Which books are to go and which books are to stay?
Last summer I had began the process of “debooking” by offering many of my Time-Life series of books to Juan, my DirecTV repairman and former neighbor. He has two young children who would benefit from holding a real book with a lot of pictures instead of getting all of their information from the Internet. Yet, as many books as I gave to Juan, there were those books that I couldn’t give to him. His children wouldn’t be interested in these books. Many of those books wouldn’t be appropriate for youngsters such as Juan’s young son and daughter who hadn’t yet reached their teen years.
Thus it was with happiness and relief when a good friend told me that he and his partner were opening a new thrift store. The new thrift store is called Clear Space Productions Thrift Store. Clear Space Productions is a local theatrical company that trains local high school students in theatrical productions. Because of the economy, donations to their worthy cause have dropped. My friend’s partner noticed that other thrift stores in the area do very well. Thus he decided there was a market for another thrift store, especially a “theatrical” thrift store. And he was right. There is a definited niche in the local market for a "theatrical" focused thrift store.
I feel good that now I have a good home for all of these books that I have accumulated over the past 45 years. These books will enjoy a renewed life with their new owners. Again, someone will find comfort turning the pages of a real book. Maybe some of them will even find a home in a home library. Now if I can just find a home for the hundreds of LP albums that have been sitting in unopened boxes in my basement.