Dinosaurs Didn’t Read and Now They’re Extinct. Coincidence?

First things first: Let me assure Jeanie and all of Taffy’s fans that Taffy is still alive and well and watching the birdies eat breakfast on the den patio:

Now we can go back to our regularly scheduled blog post.

I’ve had to work extra days at the used bookstore this week (all proceeds go to the Friends of Bryant Library) because we have too many hours of openness and too few volunteers. Usually I take a radio to the store with me to keep me company during down times, but on Wednesday I forgot it so I plugged in the small CD player I keep at my desk and I played an old 1991 CD that we got in a donation a while ago.

One of our regulars was browsing nearby and he asked me, “Is that Bruce Springsteen?”

No, I said. “It’s Gordon Lightfoot.”

“I left my hearing aids in the car,” he explained. (He’s in the store once a week and you can never talk to him because he ALWAYS leaves his hearing aids in the car. Dude! Put in your damn hearing aids!)

And then he went on to say “I like Gordon Lightfoot. I can’t get out of the ’60s and ’70s. It’s still my favorite music. I guess I’m showing my age. I’m 65.”

When I find out that people are in my age bracket, I mentally put us back in high school together so I can figure out where we stand. I’m guessing that this guy was a senior when I was a freshman. We would have been in different orbits back then but here we are now, chatting like Baby Boomer homies.

I’m OK with music from the ’60s and ’70s, but the stuff I truly adore comes from the 1980s. That’s because I didn’t like high school at all, and I had a lot more fun and thrills in my late 20s/ early 30s, when Tears for Fears and Johnny Hates Jazz was the background music. God, I miss the ’80s.

But as a professional, I agreed with No Hearing Aid guy that the music of our youth was the best ever, and he bought a copy of Look Homeward, Angel and a history of Tudor England and left. Things were quiet, so I unpacked a big box that had been left on the book store’s doorstep overnight.

The box was full of children’ books, which I always like to look through. We have an excellent children’ book section, which I have organized into five categories. One of the categories is Princess and Ballerina Books.

This is where I put the Disney Princess books and the ballet books because, sometimes, you have to find a book for a kid who loves pink. (I love pink, too.) And lo, what should I find in this Wednesday donation but the perfect mash-up:

It’s very disturbing, to me, to see illustrations of Cinderella and Prince Charming in a pas de deux, but I priced it at 50 cents and dropped it into the box because who am I to judge?

It was still quiet, so I thought that as long as I had my camera out, this was a good time to take a photo of our main Fiction bookcase:

I have plans for this book case. But before I transform it, I need to ask you, Dear Readers, for your help.

A while back, maybe a  year ago when I was new to used book selling, one of you darlings sent me a YouTube about a group of artists in England…London, I think…who take over a space in a public school and, overnight, install a mysterious book store. The shelves are full of tattered volumes and tiny treasures, and the whole shebang is presided over by a dotty caretaker, a lady who invites the school kids to come in and browse. Then the kids go back to their classrooms and write about this mysterious place.

If there is a Dear Reader, or Taffy fan, who remembers sending this to me, please send it to me again. I’ve been hoarding artistically tattered books for a year and it’s time to make some use of them.

Thanking you in advance, I will forever be indebted.

Thankfully, before I could become bored out of my mind, in came a woman looking for kids’ books to use in her kindergarten movement class and, close behind her came another regular, a collage artist. The kindergarten teacher needed books that had a lot of different animals in them so the kids could move like all kinds of  creatures. But not spiders. She tried getting them to act like spiders once and they didn’t go for it.

This is one of the books she bought. It wasn’t in the Princess and Ballerina box. I had this in one of the seven Picture Book boxes.

The college artist uses black and white photographs for his stuff, so he always checks out the latest coffee table books — he found a Time Life book about the 20th century, and another book about early American arts that had a lot of portraits in it.

He’s going to have a show in September at a local gallery and I am looking forward to seeing what he’s made of our books.

The kindergarten teacher overheard the collage artist and me talking and she volunteered that she does collage too. Well, actually, she does decoupage. She puts animals on chairs and donates them. She showed the collage artist photos of her chairs on her phone and he said that they were good. I’m not a “crafts” person so I had not heard of Mod Podge before, and now I think I want to try it out.

It was half past noon and I had made $10 for The Friends of Bryant Library. I was sure that I would be on my own until closing time (3 o’clock) but a mere half hour later my favorite book collector came in. I haven’t seen him since he spent four or five days with us last Summer, buying hundreds of books to re-stock a friend’s flooded-out library in Houston.

Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August of 2017. Hurricane Harvey is tied with 2005’s Hurricane Katrina as the costliest tropical cyclone on record, inflicting $125 billion in damage, primarily from catastrophic rainfall-triggered flooding in the Houston metropolitan area and Southeast Texas.

A basket of squirrels rescued from Hurricane Harvey because, Awwwwwwwww.

Turns out that our friend enjoyed that book-buying experience so much that he quit his job as a computer tech and set up a warehouse, and now he’s a full-time bookseller on Amazon.

I ended the day with $101.50 for The Friends of Bryant Library. It was a record-breaking Wednesday.

So that’s three hours in the life of a used book store.

I hope you have enjoyed this peek into the rarefied world of used book selling and if you have friends who live on the north shore of Long Island, please urge them to come volunteer three hours a week of their time to join us in all the rollicking good fun.

Have a great weekend, Dear Ones. If you’re having the blues please remember that everything that we have heard about the Mueller report is lies coming from lying Republican bastards. But are we down hearted?

NO! Because The Truth Will Out, and when it does it will wipe the smug shit-eating fake-billionaire grins off every Trump face for, oh, about 2 – 10 in a Fed slammer.

This just in on Taffy:

He’s still alive and dreaming.

Taffy Say Relax.

13 Comments, RSS

  1. Congrats on your productive Wednesday! Those squirrels are adorable, even though squirrels in our garden drive me crazy. (I would never do anything to hurt them. I just complain about them because they dig up the plants.)

    Even though I was in high school in the ’80s, my favorite music always came from the late ’60s and early ’70s. I’ve long been a fan of Gordon! I was always in a time warp.

  2. Casey

    Well if I lived nearby and didn’t work all week I would volunteer at your book store. It sounds adventurous. Good on you for all the charity work you volunteer for and all the $$$ you are making for the library.

    Johnny Hates Jazz?? I had not heard of them but I watched a YouTube of Shattered Dreams. OMG, they are soooooo 80-s!!! I love 80-s music because that’s what I grew up with, I guess I was lucky that way.

    How could I have completely forgotten about Hurricane Harvey? Of course I can’t forget Katrina but Harvey has disappeared from my brain, probably because of the even bigger daily and slow-moving, wretched disaster of Slimeball Trump. Doesn’t Texas still love Trump? So, FU, Texas. Except for the squirrels.

    Hey Republicans: Release the full Meuller report, if you dare.

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you for two of the best things in my life today:
    1. pictures of Taffy (how I wish I could gently skritch that huge orange tummy, although maybe he wouldn’t like that, and then I would stop, because I love Taffy and would respect his boundaries)
    2. Your description of life in the used bookstore, which makes me miss my days working in a used bookstore for who I called my Kindly Socialist Bosses, as they paid me $10 an hour to work my dream job back when $10 an hour was unheard of for a service job).

    Also, I too miss the (late) 80s, but mostly the 90s. I can’t even watch “Remington Steele” anymore, it makes me cry for the lost world of the 90s when no one had cell phones and yet the world chugged along.

  4. Have you considered shorter shifts? The library used book shop where I volunteer has two-hour shifts (10-12, 12-2, 2-4) and no shortage of folks. We have two people on nearly every shift.

    I love your tales of the book shop. So many fun donations. Last week we got “Outwitting Squirrels”, which is apparently a classic now in its 3rd edition. Who knew?

    I used Mod Podge in my long-lost youth! I’m sure you’ll have a great time playing with it.

  5. Margot

    I’m so glad Taffy is well. We lost our oldest kitty Millie, who had just turned 20, this week. She lived outdoors until she was 18, and spent her last year in her own mother-in-law unit with her brother Pox, RIP, and then on her own. She learned to sit on a lap in the last 6 months of her life.
    Glad the bookstore is doing so well. I think you’ll love Modge Podge; a product from the 70s that never goes out of style.
    One day we will all get to read the Mueller report for ourselves.
    Your blog is a highlight of the week.

  6. Mary

    Vivian, I look forward to reading your blog every Friday. Glad you’re back on the a.m. schedule.
    We’re always glad to see the happy ( sleepy) furries on Long Island. You have an interesting life with them and Top Cat..
    Your “job” at the Library ( used book type) sounds like a beat off the well worn track. Enjoy it while you can.
    Did your neighbors get a replacement for Dennis? He was a special cat.
    Your blog is a highlight of the week for me, too………..

  7. Kirra

    Thanks for the tip Taffy! I will try and do some relaxing.

    I love hearing about the happenings of the used book store, I hope you get some more volunteers soon, so you don’t have to do extra shifts. That mash up of Disney ballerina princesses is kind of disturbing. Giraffes Can’t Dance is a great book though.

  8. Glad Taffy is OK.
    Well that guy in the White House says he has nothing to hide, nothing at all; so where are those tax reports? Hummmm?
    I didn’t like high school at all, but did love listening to jazz and rock and roll during that time. Still like it.
    Thanks for a day in the life of a used book seller. Now thinking maybe I should start a new business of selling used books on Amazon. I do buy enough of the used ones there.

  9. Hi Vivian — catching up so none of my comments will make any sense but that sounds like a great library day! (I saw Gordon L. live in concert back sometime ago — he gave a good show). And three cheers for our Taffy! Such a relief.

    I love the stories of your book shop. I just finished a book about a used book store in Paris where they organized by theme — Paris might have Moveable Feast or French writers, a book that took place in NY might be in that area, even if the writer was from Oklahoma — the idea being you stumble on things you weren’t looking for. My favorite used bookstore is in Montague, MA in an old mill. I just want to live there. I think I’d enjoy living in your library or at least helping out!

    Now, off to read backwards!

  10. The March 25th issue of The New Yorker had a sweet article by Kathryn Shultz about her father’s huge bedside stack of books. The article is in the Personal History category and titled “The Stack” – “The life-changing magic of a disorganized pile of books. All this talk of used books reminded me…and that a recent wave of downsizing caused me to give away four large tubs of books, which I miss. I wish I had just shoved them in the moving truck, but two out of three of my daughters will not fondly regard my books, snd the one who would has no room or time for them.

    So…now that we need to be cheered up, how DOES one collect a basket of squirrels? What I mean is, were they drugged in this photo? Was it the middle of the night? Do squirrels sleep soundly…out in the open, on a table? Are they all just recovering from resuscitation? These questions will keep me up at night.

    • Vivian

      I understand your anxiety about the squirrels. If you look closely, they are inside a plexiglass tub that is pierced with air holes. That’s how they can stay huddled together on a towel laid out on the bottom of the cage, which is their behavior when they hide away in Winter. Their nests are huge piles of old leaves and dried grass and twigs, and are so snug that they can maintain warmth up to 80 degrees on a sub-zero day. I think the poor squirrels were so tired from swimming their way to safety that they are catching up on their snoozing.

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