Remember these? I spent hours…(nerd alert!)…I mean hours pouring over these books. They sat right next to the World Book Encyclopedia, the source of all knowledge for school reports before the internet, in my grandmother’s house. (Yes, I will be able to tell my grandchildren I was born before the internet and blow their precious little minds.)
They are called ‘Childcraft: The How and Why Library’ and they are wonderful. All 15 of them. (Okay, 14 because I bought the set without realizing the number 8 was missing.) I had been watching them at the Mercer Island Thrift Store. The first time I saw them, I was brought back by the smell and the wonderful mid-century illustrations. I walked away and went home with these gorgeous babies I wrote about here instead.
The second time I didn’t find anything good and pouted about it. I consoled myself by looking at these books again before I left. I had a moment of ‘Should I buy these? Should I?’ Nah. I don’t need them. I don’t really. But they bring me back to a room with a Nelson built-in, smoky gray marble flooring and wood paneling. It was my uncle’s room and it also had a full sized poster of Jimi Hendrix on the closet door, but that’s neither here nor there. They were the EXACT ones. The exact color and edition in my grandparent’s house. They even smell the same.
I said to myself that if they were there the next time I went, still sitting sad and lonely and unappreciated on that bookshelf, I would buy them. I mean at $15…a dollar a piece…it’s a deal. (Actually, it was a little more than that because #8 was missing but whatever.)
And guess what? Today, they were still there waiting for me. And guess what else? I couldn’t resist. (I also couldn’t resist an awesome piece of MCM furniture, but more on that later.)
My glorious 15 volumes (minus 1) are:
1. Poems and Rhymes
2. Stories and Fables
3. World and Space
4. Life Around Us
5. Holidays and Customs
6. How Things Change
7. How We Get Things (And the era of conspicuous consumption begins…)
8. About Us (and missing! Tried Ebay, no luck.)
9. Make and Do
10. What People Do
11. Scientists and Inventors
12. Pioneers and Patriots
13. People to Know (I always thought I would end up being one of these.)
14. Places to Know (I dreamed of going to all of these.)
15. Guide and Index
I am totally geeking out looking through these and having memories flood back both from the photos, words and the smell. I swear these books are responsible for my love of learning and my total over the top nerdiness. It’s fascinating to me to see how so much of the mid-century mentality pervaded these pages. Expect to see more postings from these pages in the future. Luck you!