Quite a few of my readers have followed the story of the lost book that I have been trying to reunite with its owner.
The first part of the story starts here.
This is the second part.
It continues here, by which time I’m running out of ideas. I can’t dispose of the book – it isn’t mine! But I don’t want it sitting around balefully on the sideboard for ever.
I’m baffled by the refusal of the relatives to respond to me. I’m not looking for a lifelong friendship, I don’t want to borrow money, all I want is to let the owner of the book know that I have it so that she can tell me what I should do with it. But I’m beginning to feel like a stalker.
By the beginning of this year I was feeling really frustrated and exasperated. I’d made numerous phone calls to England and sent several messages to relatives via Facebook. I’d written to the address where the book’s owner was last known, only to find she had recently moved, leaving no forwarding address.
A very nice man in England, a genealogist, had given a lot of his time in trying to trace the book’s owner, and had uncovered the very sad story of certain events in her life. I wrote to him to say that as it seemed we were never going to find this woman, I was going to get rid of the book by some means. Maybe I’d just leave it on the shelf of a library, or on a train.
He made a new effort and finally found a recent contact for the elusive book owner. I wrote to that contact and explained the situation, and asked that they contact the book owner and ask her to let me know if she wanted her book back, or not.
Bingo! Yesterday I received an email from her. It wasn’t the most gracious letter. In fact it was quite scathing and aggressive, but at least she did say that she wanted the book destroyed. Which I shall be most happy to do now that I have her permission. I’m thinking about a small bonfire, hoping that the smoke will rise into the sky and take away all the sadness written in those pages.
And if ever I find anything similar, I’m going to leave it exactly where it is.