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The Bacon Bookmarker

by Ellen Bone

I have a huge personal library of over 1000 books with many of them passed down from generations or purchased from old bookstores and second hand stores. I saw an article not long ago about someone who had written a book about the odd things he had found inside books that people had used as bookmarkers. It caught my eye because I have always been delighted by finding old tickets, articles clipped from newspapers, the books that I have purchased over the years.

My mother once found a slip of paper sticking out of the spine of a book in the bottom of a huge box of things she had purchased at some rumage sale. I don't remember the exact words written on the piece of paper, but it stated something similiar to this.."Mary, since you are the only one who will want and love my books when I am gone, there is several thousand dollars under the tile in the kitchen for you." There was no clue on the scrap of paper about the author or when it was written or for whom the note was intended, but it was a wonderful childhood mystery and I am sure we still own the book.

Over the years I have found old obituaries tucked into pages of poems, locks of hair and slews of four leaf clovers, but the strangest bookmarker of all was the strip of bacon! I can't imagine how the reader could find nothing at all in reach to mark his or her place.

There is also something very personal and sometimes funny about comments written in the margins of books. I have such respect for books that I hesitate to write on the pristine pages of workbooks, but old cookbooks often have notes about certain recipes or comments on the household budget. An old Bible from the library of a deceased clergyman with his notes of deep belief, wonderment and sometimes doubt are privileged looks into the thoughts and minds of someone long gone from this dimension.

Yes, I would like to have a device to download books someday, but I would so miss the bookmarks...even if it were only a strip of bacon.

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