6.29.2021 | Tuesday

that time my library book was anti-romance

category: Book Talk

reading time: 2 minutes

I love libraries. Always have, always will. But sometimes the books I check out come with… surprises. This is the tale of one such surprise.

Let me set the stage for the tale… it was a cold winter day about ten years ago. Imagine this lovely stone building in deep winter, the ground at least 2.5 feet beneath the surface of the snow. This is par for the course in northern New York, in a tiny village between Fort Drum (where my husband was stationed) and my hometown. The library was and is a small one, quaint and beautiful.

image: Gouverneur Public Library

This one time, but not at band camp (kudos to those of you who got the movie reference), I checked out a book. I got home, settled in with a hot cup of coffee and opened it with breathless anticipation. Do I remember the book? No, I do not, but while this is a story about a book, the book matters not. Anyway, I opened said book and realized that there was something tucked into it. Flipping through it, I found two letters tucked into the middle of the book.

I’d like to say that I didn’t read them. I’d like to say that, and I could. But it would be a lie. And I don’t want to lie. So, yeah. Read the hell out of them.

Letter one was penned on several sheets of generic blue Army stationary, the kind they had in basic training shoppettes even back in a day when I was in basic… back before there was electricity and before the wheel had been invented. (I exaggerate by a few years…) Anyway… it was a love-filled near tome, waxing poetically about her eyes, her hair, her personality, her everything. It was beautiful. And I swooned.

Then I read the other one, dated a few days prior one, from the intended recipient of the first letter. This one was in a feminine hand, written on flowery pink papers and smelling vaguely of Love’s Baby Soft. I digress, but do they still make that stuff? I further digress… I looked it up… they do. Since 1974. Moving on, it was a steamy epistle that read like a Penthouse Forum letter. It was… wild. There were things described that I’m not sure were legal (kidding!) or anatomically possible. I mean, the girl had descriptive writing skills. I finished reading it, and I felt filthy. Unfortunately for the author of letter one, this one was also a straight-up Dear John letter. The participant in the dirty parts was not him but his best friend back home. One incident she recalled involved her getting jiggy with said best friend while on the phone with the soldier. Oookay.

And there ends today’s tale of the anti-romance library book.

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4 responses to “that time my library book was anti-romance

  1. Linda

    Yikes! Not the kind of Dear John letter that should fall into a stranger’s hands. Wonder if either of them still lives in the area? Baby Soft…didn’t everyone wear it at one time or another? By the way, Gouverneur was just a hop, skip and a jump from where I started my teaching career…in Morristown.

    • Nope. This was a decade ago, and the letter was postmarked years earlier. It had been in that book for a LONG time!

      My best friend’s summer home is in Morristown! I’ve spent a lot of time there over the years!


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