I just finished a book titled Gardening on Main Street by Buckner Hollingsworth. It was published in 1968. I purchased it for $.50 a few weeks ago at a church bazaar but just found it listed in Amazon.com for $26.50. This is all just background to my main point. Old books are fun!
Mrs. Hollingsworth was a grandmother at the time she wrote this book; probably well into her 60s or early 70s. She speaks from a time long past, revealing tidbits of her lifestyle and the times as well as her gardening style. Happily she mentions by title and author many of the books that were pivotal in her life. I’ll be haunting the used bookstores looking for them as well!
Little things, mentioned in passing, reveal so much. Her comment about moving her amaryllis plants nightly to a warmer spot (to force quicker growth) at the same time that she went upstairs to change for dinner reminds me that this was the norm. Her casual mention of her typewriter, her comment that cataract surgery stopped her ability to do further research (she must have been a touch typist as this book is sort of a memoir), her early caution with pesticides (she had read Rachel Carson but was still ahead of the curve), her trouble locating goldfish for her pond, her horror at the newest atrocity to hit the market place “the comparatively new industry” of “artificial flowers” all point out the changes that have occurred in our world in the last 40 years.
I like picking up on these little things in old books, just hints really, within the context of a book written at the time instead of something written about the time. The subject is her garden but an additional joy in reading this book and other “old books” is what they reveal about life - similarities as well as differences between the generations.
Support your local used bookstore!