Thursday, December 17, 2009


We're in the midst of the Christmas shopping rush at the bookstore
and let me tell you folks, it can get pretty hectic at times, as it was today.

I was at the information desk looking up a book for a customer when
an older lady who was waiting nearby asked me if I could just point
out where she might find the new book about the Baker Chocolate Factory.
I told her it was on a display next to the local history section, that it
was a great book, and that if she couldn't find it I'd be glad to help her
after I finished helping the other customer. She thanked me and moved
off to find the book.

About twenty minutes later I was on my way up to help at the registers
when the same lady stopped me to tell me I'd helped make her day. I
thought she was referring to finding the Baker Chocolate Factory book,
but it turned out it was something else.She'd found the book alright, but
afterward she browsed my local history section and found the Images
of America book about the history of the Milton, Ma. fire department.

And in that book, she found a picture of her great-grandfather.

Now, she already had a copy of the picture in the book, but it was
a group photo and uncaptioned,so she hadn't know which firefighter
was him. But the copy in the book was captioned, and now she
could point directly to the man on the page who was her ancestor.
She teared up a bit but smiled when I told her how great that was
and that I knew how she felt because I'd had similiar moments
researching my own family history. She thanked me again, we
wished each other a Merry Christmas and then both of us moved
on to the cash registers, me to ring sales and she to purchase her books.

It was a long, hard, tiring day. I was very tired by the time my shift
was up, and my legs were aching and stiff.

But when I started to write about this encounter I found myself smiling.

I might have made that lady's day, but she made mine as well!


hummer said...

Special moment when you realize that you just had a hand in a miracle for someone searching for their ancestors. Sounds like she really needed that.

Janet Iles said...

Bill, it is moments like that which make it all so worthwhile, whether you work in a book store or a library.

Heather Rojo said...

I love those "Images of America" books! I found an ancestor in the Chelsea, Mass Images book, and it almost shocked me! Now I check out all the bookstores when I'm in a new part of New England to see what books are in stock.

Myrt said...

AWESOME! Amazing how our ancestors find a way to be "found"!!!! THANKS for sharing the story, Bill.

Experiencing someone else's successful find give us all HOPE.

Maybe it will be our turn next.

Lori said...

How wonderful! I love it when I can help someone else discover a family treasure. Bet it made your day too! :)

Midge Frazel said...

Great post. It felt like I was there with you tired legs and all. Glad Randy picked this for the "Best" of this week.

Karen Packard Rhodes said...

I'm so glad to see you say that it was hectic in a book store. Gives me hope that people will still read! I just hope some of those hectic-makers for you were young people.

Great day for that lady, and I do also love those Images of America books. Glad you got to experience that moment, as well. Always a great feeling when you can participate in a moment like that.