On Face Book, people post pictures of items, activities, and places from the past and say, “If you remember this, click.” Some pictures demand that I write about them, and one such recently was “covering books.”
They showed brown paper covers – made from grocery bags- but all through junior high school I covered my books with oilcloth. (I wonder if they even make that anymore?) The first homework assignment in very class was to cover your book. When I got home from school, my mother would give me the money to take the bus to Medford Square to buy theoilcloth. I would carefully consider all the choices because this was durable material and would last the whole year. I remember that one year I chose bright yellow and another a blue floral print. Once home, my mother would help me cover the book, and then I was all set.
By the time I got to high school , I, like everyone else, was using brown paper bags to make the book covers, but I was fascinated that my mother showed me a clever way of folding so no tape was required.
We students had a great deal of respect for our books, taught by our teachers and reinforced by our parents. We were to handle books only with clean hands and not leave an open book face down as that would weaken the spine. I think we would have covered the books even if not required. To this day I would never dog-ear a page to mark my place.
What interests me is that now, at school, when a single book can cost more than my father earned in a couple of days, I don’t see many covered books, but I do see books just lying around anywhere.
© Dorothy C. Judd
Next Post: Thursday, January 10th.