I come from a family of collectors. I suppose to be fair, I am my mother’s daughter in that respect but my father enjoyed the hunt as well. I am younger than my two sisters by 5 and 8 years and by the time I was entering high school they were both out of the house so in many ways I had a somewhat separate childhood. My collecting gene had shown up early and I had an enormous collection of frogs of every kind when I was about Leo’s age. When I was 12 however I started collecting antique glass salt dishes and from then on I buried myself in the world of antiques. Nothing was more thrilling than a Ruth Webb Lee book on pattern glass or the newest issue of Maine Antique Digest.
So throughout my high school and college years my parents and I haunted antique shops and shows together. My father created a fine collection of 18th/19th century blown wineglasses but he also started buying books and finally settled on completing a set of the N.C. Wyeth illustrated children’s books published by Charles Scribner’s and Sons. To this day they sit on the top row of a cupboard in their house.
For years my father has looked forward to the day he could pass on those books to the Leo and Owen. He would sit and talk about how wonderful the stories are and how the boys would love them. Now that Leo is reading so much they decided to give each of the boys one of the books for Christmas. Owen is too young for them still but we wanted to include him as we don’t know what condition my father will be in by next Christmas.
We celebrated Christmas with my folks late—-as we’d been sick all Christmas week we went over on the afternoon of New Year’s Eve. The boys gleefully each received a train car for the Lionel set, a new book (a new Owen and M’zee book for Owen and some Boxcar Children books for Leo) and one of the Scribner’s books. The boys were gratifyingly excited and I was proud of them as they hugged and thanked my parents. After the boys trotted off to play my father smiled and turned to me saying, “who are those boys?”