I love finding old notes, especially when they are hidden in the pages of an old book. I recently had occasion to rifle through an old French grammar book of mine, (swotting up for my novel set in France) when I found a note from a dear college friend.
To anyone else, it’s not a very exciting note, but to me, it’s like a time-machine. Before mobile phones, texting and emails, this was how people communicated kids! As soon as I read it, I was instantly transported back to my year abroad (my Erasmus) where I studied for my marketing diploma in France. At the tender age of 19, I set off for Toulouse and made some of the best friends I ever had. I recalled living on the third floor of the students residence (and regularly cursing those stairs) in a small room with a single bed, a study desk, a wardrobe, a sink and a bidet of all things. How very French! I remembered how each of the foreign exchange students found strange and varied uses for their bidets, from a beer cooler to a foot spa 🙂
We were all broke, all of the time and yet always seemed to have the best fun. Having impromptu dinner parties by leaving our room doors open and each cooking a course on an electric hob. Nursing teeny tiny cups of coffee in the student cafe, playing Dame de Pique (I still don’t understand that game to this day). Or maybe that’s my rose coloured glasses view of the past (more like wine glasses!) Of course we swore we would keep in touch and of course we didn’t. There was no Facebook or Twitter, but if there was, I probably wouldn’t have this note, or the countless letters that I exchanged with my family, which are so dear to me now. Sometimes I think we are losing so much by making everything in our lives digital (I know, I know, the irony of being an eBook author is not lost on me). There’s something visceral about a hand-written note that can conjure up memories and emotions unlike anything else. I’m glad I kept it.
So I got to thinking, do other people still keep notes in old books, or better yet, have you found anything interesting in a second-hand book or a library book? Well here’s a little montage of notes found in library books – from heart-warming to silly – which I’m sure you will enjoy.
You can check out my ‘francais‘ in my new book, The Mysterious Bakery On Rue De Paris, which is currently on sale at the ridiculously low price of 99p! Ooh la la 🙂