The photos I shared in the March of Books bookshelves photo gallery over at ylcf.org were realistic—they showed the bookshelves of our little pink house as they appear right now. But I was thinking back to all the different ways we’ve arranged our books through the past four years, and had to share a few more photos. I just wish I’d taken a picture of those first cardboard box shelves—and the bookshelf topped with blocks proclaiming the name of the child who got to read them all!
I don’t believe in evolution. Except when it comes to things like our collection of books, and their arrangement on our bookshelves.
When Merritt and I got married, it was not just two people becoming one—it was two libraries becoming one! My 14 boxes of books merged with his already rather large collection made for over 1,000 titles. On our honeymoon, we bought even more books—children’s books—adding to our as-yet-unpacked collection.
In the weeks following our honeymoon, we painted the walls and organized kitchen cupboards. We put our quilt on the bed and planned where we’d hang pictures on the walls. But our home didn’t feel complete with all our books hiding in the stack of cardboard boxes. We just hadn’t found enough bookshelves yet!
One afternoon while my farmer was out working, I asked my new sister-in-law to come help me. We emptied each box of books, then turned the boxes on their sides and carefully stacked them to create cardboard shelves. They weren’t very sturdy, but they worked. And my husband smiled to see our books out when he arrived home that night. (I wish I’d taken pictures!)
We did find some bookshelves at a garage sale the week before my farmer broke his leg. We came home from the hospital to find the empty shelves there just where we’d unloaded them. But during his recovery we had plenty of time to sort and catalogue our book collection.
Those shelves filled quickly. We added stacks of wooden apple boxes. We stacked books on top of books.
And then came a baby girl. Who had her own collection of board books before she was even born. And who needed somewhere to sleep in the midst of the library we called our home.
Soon, our bookshelves became the “walls” of her little bedroom.
Her daddy wrote “Ruth’s Books” in ABC blocks on top of the “kids’ book shelf.” And our book collection kept growing and growing—thanks to GoodWill, garage sales, and PaperbackSwap—overflowing every shelf and free space. Even perching above the closet in our storage area.
And then came another baby girl—followed by a remodel of the little pink house where she lived with her daddy and mommy and big sister. The teetering piles and stacks of books were packed up to protect them from the dust which was making way for two new bedrooms.
Visitors to the little pink house these days still think we have a lot of books. I dare not tell them that half of the titles are packed away. Awaiting that wall full of bookshelves we’ve been dreaming about ever since we got married.