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FIND ANY GOOD BOOKS LATELY? (LD-5)

May 22, 2012

Tony’s Scrapbook

I suppose that this posting qualifies as a Little Debbie story.

Little Debbie #5…

In the condominium where I grew up (in the 1960’s),

there was a recreation room that was made available to residents. It could be leased out for private events. There was a pool table and a ping-pong table in one room;  also a kitchen, bathrooms and a sitting room. The sitting room looked like anyone’s living room, with a fireplace, tables, chairs, couches and a couple of bookcases.

 When I was about 8 or 9, I was in there browsing the titles in the bookcase (which were probably purchased at a yard sale).

I found one that interested me: a collection of poems and anecdotes that were reprinted from a radio show that was popular in the 1940’s. Both the show and the book were entitled,

“Tony’s Scrapbook”.

After sitting and reading several pages, I decided that I wanted to keep the book. I did not know whom to ask. My feeling at the time (and still): It is far easier to apologize later than to ask permission first!

I decided that it would be ok to take the book as long as I replaced it with a book of mine that I no longer wanted. I had a book about Butterflies that I did not want (I was always sort of creeped out by butterflies anyway). I brought it over from our house and made the trade.

Tony’s scrapbook had the most delightful little stories in it! There were several that I liked. The book was a collection of not one but THREE Tony’s Scrapbook editions, all combined in one volume. This anthology was a collection of material that had been broadcast     on a radio program from the late 1930’s and early 1940’s.

The pages were numerical in volumes l, ll and lll; which meant that the page numbers were repeated three times. I had some favorites in there and so I wrote inside the cover and on the first blank pages–the titles, volume and page numbers of several that I liked. I wrote them down: in a 9-year-old’s handwriting.

The next Summer I went to a Summer residence Camp called Camp Bluff Lake, located in Big Bear, CA. I did not realize it at the time, but later I found that

I had left the book behind at Summer Camp.

I did not know, because I did not miss the book for a long time. It was probably a few year’s later that I went looking for it. I couldn’t find the book and I had no idea where I might have left it. I went to the camp for one week at the beginning of Summer. I did that for three years.

NINE YEARS PASSED…

At the age of 18 I applied for a Summer job at the same Summer Residence Camp that I had enjoyed as a child, Camp Bluff Lake. I went to Pasadena to the YMCA (they owned the camp) and I was hired as the Archery Instructor and a part-time kitchen helper.

(NOTE: I gained my experience for the position of Archery Instructor by my attendance at this same Camp! I had a couple of Archery awards and certificates that I earned while I was a Camper.)

I was hired as part of the Permanent staff, one who resided there all Summer and played host to the lease groups that used the camp. It was the BEST job in the world, in my opinion!

The pay was minimal but staff members had the chance to ride the horses, paddle the canoes and use the little sailboats and row boats during free hours and on our days off.

I worked there all Summer (1978) and the following Summer as well. It was during the second Summer that the miracle happened (well, I thought it was!).

I was sitting in the Director’s apartment one evening. This was a place where the staff members would gather after the chores and duties of Camp were completed. I was just sitting there relaxing. I was gazing at the bookcase that was directly across the room from where I sat. I noticed a green spine of a book and—from my seat I wondered to myself, “Is it possible that I have found a copy of Tony’s Scrapbook?” I had eventually realized that I had lost the book somewhere in my travels. I had no inkling of where I left it but it had disappeared at some point. Easy come, easy go maybe.

I got up and went over for a closer look and—

WONDER OF WONDERS! It was the same book. It was not a COPY of the same book:

IT WAS THE SAME BOOK THAT I HAD LOST!

I knew right away, as soon as I opened the cover and saw my own childish scrawling handwritten notes in it.

WOW!

I was very excited to see the book again! If only books could talk, I am certain that this book had more than one story to tell.

I asked, and was informed that—in 1971 or ’72, the Director’s quarters had had a small fire in the kitchen, necessitating some major repairs. The entire building was remodeled and updated. The apartment, once it was completed, was furnished with an assortment of furniture that was found here and there throughout the camp. The bookcases were filled with a box of books that had been stored in the attic for several years, and were very likely discovered in a collection of items in the Lost & Found.

Then it all became obvious to me: I had left the book behind when I was a 9-year-old camper. The book ended up in the Lost & Found, and ended up in a box in the attic, with a stack of other used books. The box was up there for many years. Eventually it was discovered and brought back down to be placed (just because…) on the book shelf in the newly remodeled Director’s quarters.

The book waited (patiently?) for more than eight years for me to return to find it.

I still have it!

I have tried very hard since getting it back, to KEEP IT IN A SAFE PLACE! I would hate to lose it again.

I think that it was an amazing discovery and an interesting coincidence. Clearly, God (or maybe Tony) wanted me to have this book!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Pat Hudson-Sommers permalink
    May 22, 2012 9:50 pm

    You never cease to amaze me how you can take a little nothing story and make it interesting and funny! I suppose you could say that this story is about Karma, right? LOVE YOU!

    • May 22, 2012 9:53 pm

      Thank you Pat, for following my posts! I love you more..

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