Thursday, September 17, 2015

Historic Treasure Map Discovered in Aftermath of Massive Storm*

*Forgive me, but there's some evidence this click bait business may be working.

When I first considered installing a Little Free Library of our own, I imagined that we would be giving something to our community, that I would need to procure new books, often, that I might even need to visit second hand shops and library sales to keep the inventory fresh. I thought about not wanting the Little Free Library to run empty, get dull. It was daydreaming about this, about happy neighbors, and being a good steward that really sparked my interest in going through it, putting up a Little Free Library. It's been wonderful. It's been fun, easy, and a source of happiness for all of us. It's also been surprising. Nothing horrible has happened. We haven't run out of books, or been run out of town. Thank goodness, no... the surprise has been how much enjoyment I am receiving. I meant this to be a gift, but I feel like I am getting the gift. We have new books, almost daily... certainly more than I can read, before new ones arrive. We meet new people, and their dogs! And then there are the treasure maps, the mysteries, odd collections, the fascinating connections. Our Little Free Library and the neighbors who share in the exchange have enriched our lives.

Geoff and Maria discovered a collection of works by Don Blanding. I happened to open a volume to a poem about leis... Hawaiian leis. It was a lovely bit, sentimental, because of our love of Hawaii. Geoff turned to the Internet for more insight into this poet and discovered "the poet laureate of Hawaii," a man who lived an interesting life, with many ties to Hawaii. It was he that suggested and founded Lei Day, back in 1927.

In other volumes we found old letters, poems, and holiday greetings exchanged between two women. A third woman's name is written inside the poetry books. We haven't deciphered the connection, if there is any, between the owner of the books and the two women exchanging cards and poems. One of the poems was poignant. There are stories, and lives touched, everywhere... of course, and yet it can be a somewhat startling to glimpse into a life, to take notice of something probably forgotten, perhaps lost in time.

Don Blanding wrote poetry, and was an artist, too.

This book is probably a bit too abused to be kept, but I don't want to part with it. Pages are stuck together, and it's moldy, warped, weathered. But the contents are amazing... it's an old fashioned crafter's Instructables, with every thing from patterns for making a pewter pitcher, to lanyard making, to illustration and design. It's not a huge book, but it's dense, full of plans, and advice for making, and tinkering. And in this same book, out fell the treasure map. I wouldn't bet these stores exist any more... and I still mean to do a Google search. Does anyone who lived in Los Angeles recall seeing hobby stores called Jiggs and Robbies Hobbies, or U-Mak-It Hobbies? I think the people on this thread would enjoy seeing the treasure map we found.

{The Internet is amazing. Mysteries solved, discoveries made... in a few strokes of the keypad.}

"The Craftsman's Creed"
All of the fine traditions and the skill...
Are mine to use to raise my craft's renown,
And mine to teach again with reverent will...
Thus do I love to serve,
With fingers that are masters of the tool."

It's fascinating what can be discovered, even in a very little library... real treasures, for certain.

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