About two weeks ago I went to the used book sale at the Maplewood Memorial Library.  This biannual event is something I’m constantly looking forward to. The last time I was there I spent a good hour roaming around, sifting through boxes, boxes and more boxes. Locals are constantly donating their books throughout the year, culminating in a grand explosion of literature that yours truly gets to (happily) clean up. I was grabbing books left and right- old favorites as well as new titles I’d never even heard of. That’s the beauty of a used book sale, you can take a gamble on something unfamiliar and you won’t break the bank in the process. Plus, you are most likely putting your money towards a good cause or local organization.

That day, I walked away with two huge bags of books for about $20. This time, I had to enforce a little restraint, despite the fact that I was practically licking my chops. I filled up one medium size bag and immediately went home to stack my selections proudly on my teeming bookshelf. I picked up a random book that I had brought home (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon) and started leafing through the pages. The book fell open naturally on page 59, where the spine had been cracked and where sat an old postcard dated May 11, 2003. The front had a picture of blooming spring flowers, and the message on the back read as follows:

Jolie dear-

You must remember primroses bloom in May too! Remember too, all you have accomplished and all you are right now – and how you chose to be a mother- and are a great one. I am enjoying my quiet day and thinking of you and Lily, your long time friend, a mother too. The begonia plant looks perky today-

Hugs & Hearts & Love

Mother.

When I read this postcard (which I’m assuming is a Mother’s Day card) it really struck me. It was handwritten in cursive, which was a little hard to decipher so I had to skip over some unidentifiable words. But I just thought it was a beautiful message from a mother to her daughter. My favorite line is “The begonia plant looks perky today.” How absolutely charming.

I stuck the postcard back in it’s home between pages 58 and 59. That’s where it will stay, and I will always remember it’s there. Later that day I started reading the book (it’s good, by the way) and I couldn’t wait to get to page 58 so I could read the card all over again and pretend I had just discovered it’s magic.

I guess that’s the beauty of a used book. For a very small price, you are getting much more than just the author’s story.

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