When my father and his twin were young boys in Minneapolis, they read the Swallows and Amazons book series written by Arthur Ransome. The books, twelve in all, tell of the adventures of children sailing on the lakes in the north of England and also on the Norfolk Broads. When my grandparents’ house was sold in the early 1960’s, Dad brought the books home, and I read every one of them, cherishing them, and even learning a lot about sailing.
(In 1973, I found the books published in paperback at Fanfare Books in Stratford, and I bought all of them so I would have my own collection.)
In 1982, my parents moved to Michigan, and the books went with them. In 1997, they sold the house and moved back to Perrysburg. In the move, though, the books were left behind. I tried to get in touch with the new owner about getting them back, but I got no response, and I was sure they were gone forever, and along with them the memories that only a book held in the hand can bring. But this summer, the house was sold again, this time to a family friend. Lo and behold, she found eight of the books still on the shelves where they had been left nearly twenty-five years ago. My sister told her friend how much the books meant to me, and she graciously gave them back to us. When I was in Cincinnati I picked up eight of them, ready to take home and become a part of my cherished collection of books that mean more to me than just the words on the page. It’s a connection to my father and something that meant very much to him.
Welcome home, Swallows, Amazons, D’s, and Captain Flint.