Where Are Your Fingerprints?
These photos are of the paperback book “Exodus” by Leon Uris. Published in 1958 by Bantam, it belonged to my mother before I did, as I didn’t snuggle in her arms until 1960.
I cannot guess the number of times Mama read this book. You can see in the pictures that it is dog-eared and torn, the binding taped and glued multiple times. She put it in my hands when I turned 13 and I, too, have read and re-read this book.
My daughter noticed “Exodus” on my shelf and wondered why I didn’t replace it with a sturdier hardback. After all, it is falling apart. Even the decades-old tape meant to hold it together is discolored and useless to its purpose. The pages are yellowed. It even smells old.
I will keep it forever.
Mama loved this book. Her long-fingered hands, so skilled on a piano and organ, held it and turned the pages. Her green eyes with their flecks of gold read these printed words—these printed words, not the same words printed elsewhere. She carried it in her purse, in the car, and passed hours engrossed in its pages. It sat on her bookshelf through my childhood and beyond. It is part of her in ways nothing else can claim.
I have other things, of course, that were my mother’s—her piano, jewelry, notes she wrote. I even kept the silly straw hat she wore to St. George Island on our last vacation together before her death. Treasures all. So what is it about this old book that matters so much? Why is this falling-apart mess of glue and paper and ink so symbolic? Are not her fingerprints and DNA on all those other things, too?
I feel close to Mama when I hold this book. It is a treasure because I deem it so, and if it only matters to me, well, that is enough.
What treasures do you hold dear that defy the understanding of others? Do you believe that things such as this carry the imprint of someone even after the person is gone?
Where are your fingerprints?
Til next time –
P.S. Don’t forget Book Blurb Friday! Scroll down a couple posts or click on the designated tab above, just under the header. See you then!