Merry Christmas! This year the 'Net has given me one of the best gifts ever, closed a century-long loop, and made a mother happy.

Specifically, begin with an 1892 present from a brother to a sister, mentioned in the 24 October 2000 ^zhurnal entry CharlesLambiana:

In the "Philosophy" area of a local used-book sale recently there appeared The Wit and Wisdom of Charles Lamb, edited by Ernest Dressel North. This tiny volume was published in 1892 by The Knickerbocker Press, G. P. Putnam's Sons. It is inscribed "From your Affect. Broth. J. A. Blake Dec. 25, '92" and bears a yellowed bookplate: "Charlotte Haven Lord Hayes, Blake". (Its original price was apparently $1, and it again sold for that sum --- in a currency depreciated by at least an order of magnitude. What path did it take, across 108 years, to arrive on the shelf where I found it?) ...

Now fast forward to last month, when an email with the enigmatic subject line " zhurnal...Datetag 20001024" was flagged for deletion by my spam filter. Something about it caught my eye; at the last moment I rescued the file and opened it to discover a beautiful letter from a night-shift nurse at a major university hospital in an old city of the northeastern USA. The author, JT, wrote:

... While 'googling' on a slow Saturday night in the CCU, I had put in the term "Charlotte Haven Lord Hayes" and received back your web site ''. I found this of particular interest because under the topic 'Charles Lambiana' the lead entry was about a book that had belonged to my great-great-grandmother, the aforementioned Charlotte Haven Lord Hayes Blake. ...

JT went on to comment "My mother has been seriously involved in genealogy for over 40 years ..." and asked about the possibility of locating the book I had mentioned.

Whoa! Needless to say, I was floored --- and delighted --- to get the message. Then I began to worry. At least two years had passed since I had last seen the little lost Lamb book, and I feared that it was irretrievably buried in the basement of Che^z , loaned out and never returned, or donated back to the local library's charity used-book sale.

But luck was with me: the tiny tome was unearthed and, after some delay, forwarded to JT (who sent in turn a princely reward, which I passed along to today's much-deserving birthday girl, Paulette).

And thus, on Christmas Day --- exactly 111 years after J. A. Blake first gave the gift to his sister --- The Wit and Wisdom of Charles Lamb is in the hands of the great-granddaughter of Charlotte Haven Lord Hayes, Blake. It's a small, and wonderful, world ...

TopicProfiles - TopicLiterature - TopicPersonalHistory - TopicZhurnal - 2003-12-25

(correlates: CharlesLambiana, ParadiseLostFound, EyeCandy, ...)