To say I'm ridiculously sentimental would be
a gross understatement.
Keeping family treasures and mementos is acceptable
but how do I justify an irrational penchant for
the mundane things unknown people have written?
Ordinary people. Ordinary things.
Shopping lists. Comments in the margin of completed recipes.
Thankyou notes. Diary entries. Postcards.
Inscriptions on the back of photographs.
So when I found this Guest House Visitors Book
at Shepton Fleamarket last year
I knew fate had placed us together-
true love across a crowded stall!
With leather-bound spine, faded board covers
stitched pages and and marbled fly leaf,
the front is simply inscribed
(my fingers linger over the gold blocked letters as I type!)
and the inner page is dated 1928
She ran a Guest House; People left a comment.
A moment in life captured forever
Some struggling with the inkiness of the pen
some neat no-nonsense comments, some expert calligraphy,
politeness, gushiness. . .
what was the significance of the leaf pressed
twixt two pages?
did "Anita" stay the weekend?
(and was she wearing her best gowns furs mantles and lingerie)?
Many visitors returned year after year on the same dates,a testament to both extreme comfort and routine!
some lodged during the working week
and went "home" at weekends
but every comment praised comfort
kindness and attention to detail.
These were unsettled years leading to the start of WW2
and the Guest House finally shut it's doors
at the end of November 1940
did He get his call-up papers?did She feel she couldn't manage alone,
lighting the fires. . .cooking breakfast
(how did Wartime rationing work away from home)?
The world had changed irrevicably since
those heady days of opening the front door
and opening The Book!
Part of me wants to know what happened next.
Part of me doesn't. . .