Months ago I began reading My Search for Christopher on the Other Side by Joe McQuillen about the loss of his 21 year old son in a small boat accident two years earlier. It unexpectedly heaved me into the recollection of my son Guy’s drowning, surprising me with that pain and deep sorrow that lay just below the surface. I thought I had mourned him (privately) and put the tragedy to bed.
I am usually a fast reader and at times a speed reader absorbing an entire page in one glance. Not so with this book. I had to put it down after just a few pages. I started to come unglued.
Christopher went into a boat with three buddies; my son Guy went with one buddy. Alcohol and/or drugs were probably involved with Christopher, surprisingly, they weren’t with my son. For Christopher it was in the middle of the night, with Guy it was the middle of a sunny Sunday afternoon. They both drowned. Guy was 24 and it was more than thirty years ago.
Comparing, I thought. Is that what I’m going to do through all 244 pages? I put the book down for a second time after reading only one more chapter. Jeez, what is going on with me? I thought while I sobbed, glad no one could see me. It’s unusual for me to be so emotional. Cool control is my mantra. I have not shed tears about this since I put Guy’s ashes to rest on the bookshelf. It helped that since my 24 year old son Kenny died in an auto accident six years previous to Guy, I had read and learned about life after life. I was happy to believe that he didn’t die, only left his body behind and that sat in plain view where I could see him. To further healing my sorrow, Guy came to me several times flicking the hair that curled just behind my right ear. It wasn’t my imagination. A woman coming into my book/gift shop one day saw him, blurted it out before she could even consider not telling me. Of course she was a psychic and saw him clearly.
I was content with that. He had fulfilled his journey for this lifetime, including my part in it and we would be sharing other lifetimes in the future. He comforted me with his appearances even though I didn’t see him.
Photos of him from babyhood throughout his life until he became the union stone mason (he gave me the first dollar he earned as a stone mason) popped into my mind from time to time. That was good. I carried him with me as I carried the others I loved who had passed on. They are always with me.
So what is going on with this reading of Joe McQuillen’s book?
Well, the photos show my psychic cat Lizzie reading a book and falling asleep on it. That’s okay. I do the same. but the words are about my youngest grand daughter reading.
I’ve been enjoying the best time browsing through children’s books on Amazon, looking for books to suit my granddaughter Rachel’s age and subjects that she likes. It brings me closer to her, even though I live far away. It forms a connection. I found out that she likes horses. Well, of course, she does now, at 8 years old. That’s about the time I came to love horses and soon after began building a beautiful collection of them over the years. I bought a lot of them with my hard earned babysitting money. In my art class in Hamilton High I made a gorgeous, ceramic black horse head.
Anyway, I ordered some books from Amazon and had them mailed directly to Rachel for her birthday. But for Christmas I wanted to see and hold these books I was buying for her. Become familiar with them. What about content, paper, sketches; wanting to know what children’s books of today look like and feel like. Plus I wanted to wrap them in Christmas paper and write DO NOT OPEN BEFORE CHRISTMAS on the outside envelope, hoping her mom will not give in to any plea Rachel may give. So, I’m having a lot of fun in this early holiday season. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt a youthful giddiness. Of course, books are involved. My love for them goes back a long way. I won’t say how long. Hahaha.
Books make great gifts that are kept close to forever. Readers don’t toss their books out when they are finished reading them. They keep them on the shelf to return to for either reference, research or just have a friend on the shelf nearby. Books signed by the author make great, personal Christmas gifts. When I had my used book shop, I often came across inscriptions, sometimes by the author and sometimes by the gift giver. Nearly always dated. Ah, geez, I loved reading those and holding the books in my hands to gain the loving energy still left in that book. The love almost leapt off the page. Some were obviously from Mom, some were to Dad. Others were from friends or lovers. How sweet is that?
Think about giving books as gifts this year. Choose them with the person in mind; maybe challenge them to read a different genre than they usually read. Think of the discussions you can share later.
Those of you in Bordentown, if you have friends who moved away from town for whatever reason, job, family, retirement,-send a book on Bordentown. The Arcadia series are such good books to have on the shelf.
Major Fraser’s is nearly out of print. I’m thinking of updating it and maybe expanding more about the Fraser family. Anyone have any opinions on that? Let me know if you do. That house looks as new as it did when it was built way back when.
Remember the way things used to look? Teenage hangouts? Buildings once here but now gone, but not forgotten? Take a trip down the memory lane. There are lots of pictures of places and people you’ll know or maybe you’re new in town and will meet them for the first time. Can you identify the kids on the cover? Find someone you know.
The excitement within me bubbles up and nearly explodes trying to get out when I open the first box of my new books. It is exhilarating!!! You’d think it was my first published book. No, it’s my 14th book that still feels like my very first one. My hand runs over the smooth, glossy cover. My fingertips feel each individual letter and picture. My name jumps out at me and shouts, “I did it!! I’m published! My words are in print to share with the world!” I open the book and smell the ink and think of Benjamin Franklin with his references to printing ink and the published work. I vibrate with joy! Along the Border, from the afterlife! True stories from people you may know from both sides of the border between Warren County, North Carolina and Southside Virginia.