THOUGHTS OF OLD PHOTOGRAPHS AND OLD BOOKS
Years ago when I moved from a large house into a small, one bedroom apartment, I was forced to make hard choices about which books to keep and which to consign to the used bookstore. I had to make a series of wrenching decisions but time has proved that I chose wisely. The “friends” I kept have been the truest and the most vital to my sense of self. During the ensuing years I’ve continued to recycle my books once they’ve been read. But as approach 75, I am beginning to collect again.
Perhaps my younger self is reasserting its values as I grow older and despite emergence of e-readers. I admit, I continue to eye theses electronic devices as they would eliminate the need for storage space, but I can’t help feeling I shall miss the touch of warm, rough paper between my fingers. I’ve heard other people my age express the same sentiment. Perhaps it’s a generational thing? One shouldn’t live in the past, but those of us who’ve been around a while miss certain disappeared experiences, like stealing shards of ice from the ice truck on a hot day or following a circus parade as it wanders through the town.
New experiences are just as good as old ones, of course. But one never replaces the other and so nostalgia sets in for those of us with a long memory. In the end, all that’s left may be our memories. As well as books, my shelves hold pictures of friends long since passed. Their images comfort to me. But like e-books and paperbacks, one isn’t a substitute for the other.