Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Farewell, Old Friend

Last night I decided it was time to toss my paperback Random House Dictionary.

My maiden name was written on the inside of it, so this had been my go-to dictionary for about 34 years. The book was copyrighted 1978 so I imagine that was when I purchased it.

As you can see, this book was well-worn and used.

Duct tape held the back together.

Scotch tape held the front cover on.

The copyright date page, just for memory's sake.

It had yellowed considerably and developed that book-moldy smell that sets off my asthma. I'm doing a clean-out and had pre-determined that anything that made me wheeze would have to leave the house.

Including, I'm afraid, beloved dictionaries.

I have this new American Heritage dictionary that I picked up when Books-A-Million closed. It will be my new go-to paperback dictionary. I also have the Shorter Oxford Dictionary on my desk so I am not lacking for words.

But I really hate saying goodbye to that Random House. Sometimes it is hard to know when to let go.


  1. I was worried you were going to go with an online dictionary. There is nothing like the immediacy of flipping to the word you are thinking about. I don't want to have to open another page and then look something up. I even keep one by my bed to look up words I never heard of when reading. Then I email my sister and she already knows it. Scrabble champion. Never play her.

  2. So sad, but he looks well-worn and well-used. I have three hardcover dictionaries -- one I keep on the bookcase near the couch, one on my desk, the oldest is on my "reference" shelf. The copyright on that one is 1968, and it has all sorts of handy reference sections not usually seen in today's print editions -- there are photos of the presidents through Nixon in the front (his successors have been written in) and a "student handbook" section in the back with info on English lit, math, science, music, etc. A handy book to hold on to!

  3. You can make a paper wreath out of it, and still have it, that way.


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