February 04, 2014

His Books

Recently, I was given many of my grandfather's books...

He was what you would call an organic intellectual--for not having the means to achieve a higher education, he made up for with his accumulation of books, none of which (it appears) he threw away.  You see, he was an immigrant to the United States, arrived in 1939, and paid his way through life with odd-and-end jobs, finally owning a grocery store in the Latin part of the city.  Books, I believe, represented a yearning for another life.

Quiet, he was; introversion was his cup of tea.  And he drank lots of it.  Dignified and occasionally stoic, he was more than the sum of his parts.  When raucous family gatherings ensued, he quietly slipped away to the back of the house.  A daydreamer, he would stare out the window for hours on end with a book in hand, watching the birds bathe in the dirt, watching the moon hold brightly in the night sky.

Truly, my grandfather loved his books, for they are all worse for wear.  The covers are taped up to stay together; the pages are strongly discolored, some mildewed and torn, stained and crumbling.  But their personal significance runs so deeply into me.

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