I think my hands are still shaking.

IMAG0876First things first, my dad can be quite the packrat and on top of that he’s extremely disorganized. So, I decided to embark on a once a decade “fall clearance” as I like to call it. So I was cleaning out his bookshelf, which was a complete mess. Thrillers, textbooks, road maps, magazines, brochures, user manuals, CDs, records, and whatnot, all thrown together. The books aren’t in single rows, but rather double rows.

I had to organize it because finding a book on a specific topic was like panning for gold. You’re hoping to find something but there’s so much dirt that you can’t see the shine. To get a feel, this is just a small part of the bookshelf after I’d organized it… somewhat. Just imagine what it was like originally. Anyway, it’s such a mess that my dad himself doesn’t know what he has. Then I stumbled upon something. 

IMAG0877-1Wait… is that Hawthorne, as in Nathaniel Hawthorne, author of The Scarlet Letter, which by the way is one of my all time favorite books? It is! It looks old too… So I check. The publication date is 1896! What the hell is my dad who’s from Germany and reads mostly German doing with an 1896 English copy of Hawthorne’s Grandfather’s Chair? He’s never even heard of Hawthorne, and he has a nearly 120-year-old copy of Hawthorne’s works. Am I even allowed to touch this much less hold or even read it? Another question. Which German ancestor of mine was fluent in English and purchased this book about a hundred years ago. I guess I’ll never know.

Then I encounter these little puppies.

IMAG0878-1I check the title page.

IMAG0880Property of the Annette von Droste-Hülshof School. Well, let’s not think about how my dad got hold of them. The large one is Deutsche heldensagen (German Hero Sagas) containing “Gudrun” und “Nibelungensage,” the other Auslese aus dem Sagenschatze Rheinlands (Selections from the Story Chest of the Rhinelands.) Both published around 1913, give or take.

Just think, I’ve been reading this:


when I could have been reading this:


Furthermore, there’s a hundred year old copy of Ludwig Ganghofer’s Der Dorfapostel, multiple titles from the 30s, 40s, 50s and so on. Then there’s this little book: a 105-year-old copy of Aiken’s Music Course. Walter H Aiken being, of course, the music supervisor for the Cincinnati Public Schools. How my English loving German ancestor came across that one and brought it back to Germany, I leave you to figure it out.IMAG0882-1-1