Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bananas for budgies

I think I first learned about this Forgotten Bookmarks guy in Country Living magazine. Yes, I am a dinosaur who often gets her information from these things called magazines. Anyway, seems he's fellow dino, though a few key differences lie between us: He appears to sell his books for an honest living whereas I allow mine to pile up around me till I'm forced to devote a weekend to dividing them into neat new stacks, some of which are marked "to sell" and others "to give away," at which point they begin to gather fresh new dust, and remain unsold and ungiven, and are eventually engulfed by new piles, undivided, unorganized, un-neatened until I start the whole process all over again. No, this guy has an actual store and he also has a clear and simple idea behind his blog: sharing the cool and often poignant or odd things he finds inside old books. So it's no surprise he also landed a book deal. This blog wishes it were so straightforward. Like the name—thingummery—what does that even mean?

Oh, whatever, I don't know. I do know that I too collect the bonus oddities I find sandwiched between the pages of old books and periodicals. I also wonder how they ended up there and I feel badly about separating them. Like my favorite, the stripper card in the sewing book, which I wrote about here. And here we have another example, though it's not quite as titillating.

I bought this copy of Bananas magazine at one of those filthy, moldy, willies-giving sales that always have the best stuff and it's almost all too damaged to buy. HATE that. But I certainly couldn't resist a copy of Bananas with Willie Ames on the cover. Eight is Enough said, am I right? I'm such a prehistoric creature that I used to buy this ’70s-’80s pop culture magazine, the poor relation of Dynamite, at the Scholastic Bookmobile. As I was thumbing through the issue and trying not to get cooties (seriously, it looks like it spent the last decades languishing on someone's bathroom floor), this Polaroid portrait of a parakeet fell into my lap. As the owner of a pair of caged birds (zebra finches), I sympathize with the photographer, who probably just wanted a snap of his/her pet but ran up against a hard truth: Caged birds don't make good subjects. The pictures are all cage and very little bird.

Anyhoo, parakeets kind of give me a bad feeling because I had one as a kid. My parents gave him to me for my birthday, though I don't recall ever asking for or wanting bird. I'm thinking they were just trying to make me stop pining for a pony. I remember going to the pet store and peering into this big glass tank set into the wall and it was just a blur of blue and green wings. I kept trying to point to the one I wanted and I'm pretty sure the pet store guy just gave me the first one he could catch. Maybe I held that against the bird because I named him Sinbad, after my favorite movie, and never paid him much attention after that. I thought he was kind of gross. I never let him out of his cage and I didn't make more than a half-hearted effort to teach him to talk. Eventually he moved into my brother's room and my brother totally loved him and let him fly around his room and sit on his shoulder and eat of his hand but he never learned how to talk, just uttered the two syllables of his name in a garbled bird language, and I was always blamed for that. When he died and was buried in a velvet box at the foot of the yard beneath the lilac bushes that are no longer there, was I even invited to the funeral?

Oops, I seem to have gone off on another tangent. See what I mean? Not concise, not clear, this blog will never have its very own book deal.


  1. I think if you can invoke the Scholastic Bookmobile (which was very cool, because RIF - Reading Is Fundamental), this blog absolutely deserves its own book deal.

  2. jen, if that's all it takes i can do a blog that consists entirely of my bookmobile memories! And RIF-too right


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