I miss my books.
Of the many losses during Hurricane Katrina, three stung the most. 1) All our photos - all my baby pictures, my wedding album, and our entire photographic history. 2) My grandmothers quilts and other heirlooms, home made Christmas ornaments and 3) My library.
The first two cannot be replaced and I will feel their absence forever I'm afraid. As my memory fades and I have no photos to remind me of how my mother looked when I was born, or when she held her grandson for the first time. ouch.
But the books...
I know lots of you love books too. So maybe you will understand?
I did not finish college. I had a family to raise and since I still do, the time required to finish has never been a sacrifice I was willing to make. But like many of my heroes I am a committed student nonetheless, my education is ongoing alive and well.
Instead of displaying a neatly framed diploma which verified for the world my education, I had only my books. They weren't for effect. I had read them, many more than once, scribbled notes in the margins, and loved them till their spines creased and the pages were dog-eared. I rarely read fiction, still don't. So my shelves were filled with books about the things I truly love. Faith, the Catholic Church, everything Scott and Kimberly Hahn had written (and autographed), Nearly all the works of CS. Lewis, Tolkien, T.S Elliot, Thomas Keating, books of the saints and so so much more. I had books from all the political pundits including my favorites from this category the autographed books Sean Hannity sent me after I spoke with him on his radio show. I had all the Presidential biographies I love including my two favorites John and Abigail Adams. I had Jane Austin, poetry, art, and many of the great books (not first editions or anything) just books.
I could go on and on. I lost 7 years of homeschooling resources, carefully gathered and selected, annotated and lovingly prepared. I lost all my personal growth books, that helped me overcome every obstacle in my life.
I would look over those books with a deep sense of accomplishment and even pride. Those shelves held my education. It was an education I gained at the feet of some of the greatest minds that have ever lived. I owned it, I had done it for myself, by myself.
I cried a flood the day I sat in my yard sifting through the ruined photos, moldy quilts and books that had turned to little more than mush.
At the bookstore last night, I held back tears as I gathered books I used to own and sat in the coffee shop turning their pages. It was like visiting an old friend. I miss them.
I have said in the almost 3 yrs since the storm that I would not try to replace them all. But I think now, I have changed my mind. Later this week I will wade through the box with all the FEMA papers and find the claim forms where I listed every single book I lost. I was compensated less than a dollar each, yard sale prices. (As if I could find these at yard sales - Harlequin's sure!)
Then, I think I will make a new list and slowly, with the help of half.com, I will replace them a couple at a time. It will be like a reunion. It will restore a part of me that still feels stung by the losses.
(This walk down memory lane, brought to you by the need to create a Government course for Corey, now with only the aid of my memory.)
Peace of the Lord be with you!