My Grandma never threw anything away. Ever. She had a gallon-size Ziplock bag full of used emery boards because she wouldn’t throw them away. It came from growing up during the Great Depression. Everything could be used again. Until it couldn’t.
She found in her garage a tub full of clothes that once belonged to two of my uncles. My aunt popped in for a visit, and called me to see if I wanted the clothes for Darwin.
For on the back deck, stacked neatly and wrapped in plastic, were old books. I don’t mean old books like, “Look at this old-looking copy of Catcher in the Rye I found at the Friends of the Library book sale!” I mean, “This book is over fifty years old because it once belonged to your dad when he was a boy, but it’s no big deal. I picked them up 3 for a dollar at Kmart.”
These are treasures!
I rushed out to my car and grabbed the cloth shopping bags I keep there for when I stop into the farmer’s market for vegetables on my way home from work. We filled those bags and took my treasures home.
Then I have my copy of INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD. It’s one of my favorites. It’s a classic, and proudly written in that front cover in my fourth-grade handwriting is Katie Anderson. That was my book. It was mine to share if I chose, but it belonged to me.
Then I found the one that tugged at my heart and said that my dad had once been a boy. A boy who struggled to write his name. A boy who struggled to learn to read. A boy who wrote his name in pencil in his book as Michael A, but the spacing is weird, the hump on the h is so big it could be an n, and the e looks like another c.
Just like my boy.
So I went to Darwin’s bookshelf. And I looked for books with his name written in them. I could only find one, and that was a journal.
He wrote his name in PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON for me. He drew a picture of a dragon head to go with it. And instead of writing it in the space designated for writing your name, he wrote it in the ocean. In the wild blue sea of the page where it shows exactly what kind of boy he is. The boy who wrote his name on the sea.