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SIX WORD » LIFE

My grandmother's name on the flyleaf...

by Kharis on September 3, 2013   |  FacebooktwitterTumblr


My grandmother’s name is inscribed on the flyleaf, in faded copperplate handwriting. Beneath it my mother has added her name, in loopy letters, so reminiscent of the notes she jotted when I lived under her roof, or the letters she penned when I moved far away, and I catch my breath with the pain of her absence. My name is added underneath hers, for this book has a provenance. Three generations of women in my family have loved this green leather-bound volume, with its 1880’s typeset and intricate black and white illustrations, some coloured in with crayons in an impudent child’s hand (mine I confess). I thumb through the pages of familiar tales: Mother Holle; The Fisherman and his Wife; The Musicians of Bremen- and I am young again, reading the hours away in a window seat, that long warm English summer when I was allowed to relocate from a bedroom shared with my sister to a dusty, mysterious attic, furnished with packing cases and dried apples and my pet mouse in his cage. This treasure is mine temporarily, for, like all beloved books, it waits to be discovered and appreciated again for the first time, and for another name to be added, because all good books should outlast their owners.

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