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Monday, 2.7.05: Bottomless Shelves

Yesterday I mentioned that Jim pointed out his aviation collection to me -- black notebooks lined up on a shelf in our bedroom. A set of shelves, really -- one of those 30-inch wide by 6-foot high jobs, full of labeled black notebooks, odd-shaped manila envelopes, books, stacks of paper. Mysteries that I had never much bothered with. It was all about "Jim's little cards."

But if you've been following along, you know that, once challenged, I can't leave a mystery alone. After all, my childhood hero was Nancy Drew.

Jim opened the door by pointing out the aviation stuff. My own itchiness set in when I noticed those seemed to be mixed in with other stuff. And, oh, look, there's a postcard reference book I could have used -- and a reference on old cars that would have come in handy when I was figuring out that card of a grand touring car with a kewpie doll hood ornament. The jumble drew me in.

"I'm putting all the reference books downstairs, so they'll be in one place," I said to Jim. He frowned at me. He must have figured he needed to supervise what mischief I was making in the bedroom because he joined me there.

Well, one thing led to another and soon every inch of bed and floor space was covered with the "unpacked" shelf contents. The aviation collection seemed endless, but there was also a World War II collection and a World War I collection, with stacks of big photos all curled at the edges. An antique book on the Crimean War, the Mexican War, a couple on the Spanish-American War and 3 on the Japanese-Russo war. And a ski collection: old books on skiing and a notebook full of postcards and other memorabilia. And then there was the Rochester collection -- maps, historical documents, ancient periodicals. And a stack of "photoplays" -- novelizations of silent era movies. How many collections can be stuffed into the same small space?

I scolded Jim for letting some delicate things get crushed and bent. We quickly agreed that I am the Chief Curator, while he is merely the Chairman of Acquisitions. I protect, preserve, and when the time comes, I sell (or, as we say in the trade, "de-acquisition").

That's cool.

Pulling a few things out to sell and figuring out how to get the rest back onto the shelves freshly organized, with more breathing space for the valuables was my Superbowl Sunday activity. I didn't quite finish but at least there was a path cleared to a welcoming bed.

He-he, what used to be my mystery will probably now be Jim's mystery...