Personal Miscellany

Stories and musings from the Playful Antiquarian’s life

I did not plan to be in Harvard Square at midnight for the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I planned to be in bed, waiting for my own copy to arrive, far away from the happy Harry Potter fans clutching their new books and the mischief-makers shouting spoilers like Death Eaters firing Unforgivable Curses. While I was excited to be in the Square and with a good friend, I looked on with slight jealousy, doubting that my own copy would arrive soon enough.

However, the owls were good to me. A UPS delivery owl dropped off my copy of Deathly Hallows in the entryway to my apartment building some time before 6:30 Saturday morning (and placed it appropriately enough in a large spider web!). While I felt foolish checking so early in the morning and even more foolish standing outside in Mickey Mouse pajamas, I ignored my embarrassment, hugging the box to my chest and breathing deeply to hold back unexpected tears.

It was strange, but I felt the way I felt as a small child on Christmas morning in the days when Santa still left presents for me. I could not decide whether I wanted to open the box or not. I worried. Were the contents exactly what I wished for or was it another undesired pair of socks disguised in a festive box?

Overcome by too much anticipation and too little sleep, I did not open the box that morning. Instead, I slept, beginning the book only when I felt rested enough to do so and finishing the last lines late Monday night. And, although I had a few complaints (mostly concerning the epilogue and the treatment of a favorite character), I felt satisfied with how the story ended.

Of course, as a girl with a never-ending reading queue, I did not dwell too long on the end of Harry’s adventures. By Tuesday evening, I was prowling the local bookstores and libraries again, returning home with two books from Curious George and a tote bag full of books from the Boston Public Library. I must confess, however, that I have not given up on Harry quite yet; the Japanese-language edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was among the library books.

Or, jack of all trades, master of library and information science with a concentration in archives management…

I am happy to announce that, at last, I am done with my graduate studies at Simmons College. Yesterday, in celebration of my newly discovered freedom, I read Book the First of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and enjoyed a home cooked meal of puttanesca sauce with “interestingly shaped noodles”. And, I have more playful diversions planned for the next few weeks.

As promised, I am planning to resume blogging on a regular basis. Please bear with me as I get back into the swing of things and prepare to move this weblog to WordPress.

Hello, all! I am in San Antonio at the moment, enjoying my last day at the ALA Midwinter Meeting. I needed my laptop today to take minutes for the committee for which I am interning, so I decided that it was a good time to take advantage of brief wifi access.

This meeting has been mostly work and very little play for me. However, yesterday, I was able to visit the exhibits where I scored a free copy of the Norton Anthology of Children’s Literature and managed to get all of my textbooks for next semester for half price. And, after this meeting, I will finally get a chance to do touristy things like eat on the Riverwalk and tour the Alamo.

I hope to post more soon–if not from San Antonio, then from Boston.

My orange childhood

Today, in my preservation management class, while discussing preservation microfilming and digitization, we briefly discussed the issue of the fading of color photographs from the 1960s and 1970s. It was an oddly apropos discussion for this week, as only yesterday I brought a baby photo to work for scanning for an upcoming staff party and noticed how much the photo had deteriorated during the course of almost three decades.

Much of my early childhood is now orange — not only in the Kodak prints in photo albums and boxes, but also in my memory. With only photographs (and a handful of family stories) to recreate my New York childhood, my view of things is easily distorted. In my memory, my great-grandparents’ brownstone in Brooklyn is pinkish orange, as are my first toys, my first birthday cake, and all of the other objects and moments of my earliest years. Perhaps, this is why whenever I am in New York City now, the colors seems unusually bright, sharp, and somehow wrong.

In many ways, it is too late to preserve my own childhood, but if I ever have children, I think I will follow the advice our guest lecturer gave today and take one black and white photo of my children every year. Black and white, at least, leaves something for the imagination.

Further reading

For information on preserving family photographs, visit the Library Preservation at Harvard “Caring for Personal Collections” webliography.

Thought for the day from the advertisements section of a recently cataloged 19th century book:

“There is a difference between Cheap Goods and Goods that are Cheap.”
–The U.S. Desk, File & Cabinet Co., Indianapolis, Ind.

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