Monday, October 29, 2007

A Tribute

Years ago, I remember taking a picture of my Uncle Arnold. He was sitting in his living room reading a book. He was 94 years old. At the time, the RWR (Romance Writers Report) was doing segments about "Who" read romance. In my picture, Arnold - a onetime railroad employee - was holding my first book: a romance. No, the picture really wasn't staged. Arnold read all my books. Not just the ones I wrote, but all my books.

My parents thought I was a bit strange. They would take me to the toy store and say, "Go pick out a toy." Have I mentioned I was raised an only child? I would go get a book. In amazement, they would look at the book, look at each other, and say, "We'll get you the book. Now, go pick out a toy, too." Seven books and one toy later, we would leave the toy store.

Arnold didn't think I was strange.

I never really came home after college (color me stupid). Mom and Dad finally packed up most of my stuff and put it in the basement (right next to the stuff I packed up after college). For the next few years, my dad would go down in the basement, pick up a box, and carry it over to Arnold.

Yup, you got it. Inside those boxes were books. I probably had 5000 (I'm not joking) in boxes down in the basement. And, Arnold, now retired, needed more books. He read all my books! He read my Steven Kings, my Dorothy Daniels, my Douglas Adams, my Nora Roberts, my James Herriots, my Danielle Steels.... He should have been a reviewer.

Last Tuesday, my Aunt Auralie died. She's my aunt on my husband's side. She was 81 (Arnold died when he was 97, by the way, and read almost the whole time). She was a reader! Oh, she was a hoot. I'd give her my books, she'd read them, and then she send them to relatives. And, she loved gathering her books and heading to the used bookstore exchange so she could get even more books at a bargain.

These two people were not my fans, they were my family, and my eyes tear up at remembering the final chapter of their lives.


Lisa Mondello said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the passing of your aunt. But what a wonderful story you've shared. Books and stories are meant to be shared.


Debby Giusti said...

Hi Pam,
I loved looking at your aunt's picture . . . such a beautiful lady, like her niece! Thanks for sharing the stories about growing up, your uncle and your dear aunt. I'm an only child and family is so important to me as well.

Terri Reed said...

What a wonderful way to remember your family members and know that books really do span generations.