“Collecting” nightmares . . . Part 2

This is Part 2 of a series of three parts.  If you have not already read the preceding post, you should consider doing so before you read this one.

The second incident I am relating in this series took place in the same “den” mentioned in the previous post.  This probably took place in 1981 or so.  It involved my nephew, who was probably about two years old at the time.  He could have one — I am terrible at making estimates of that kind.  (He could walk, though.)

I had, on the floor, a box of Hoffmann books, rather old ones.  My young nephew somehow was holding one Hoffmann book, a very early American edition of Modern Magic.  It is possible that it was a first American edition, but in any event it had the early American design used by Routledge.  Now, I was  never one to snap a book away from my nephew or my daughter (when they were very young) because of any worry that the book might be injured, though I suppose I tried to supervise closely.

Anyway, here is what happened (according to my memory).  My nephew had a firm grasp on the book, one hand around the spine and one around the other “side.”  I watched in terror as he heaved the book downward into the box, spear-fashion.  In my mind’s eye, I sort of picture him holding the book above his head (which probably did not happen), and throwing it downward from a height of eight feet (which definitely did not happen).

But as a one or two or three-year-old, he was quite close to the ground.  Nonetheless, the book may have traveled, oh, two feet or so.

What happened was the reverse of the preceding case (the one that involved A Magician in Many Lands).  It this case, the book landed solidly on the “bottom” (not the back).  The block of pages and the bottom edges of the cover must all have hit at pretty must the same time.  I suppose that the book may have tipped somewhat, and may have ended up leaning against some other books.

I never discerned any damage whatsoever!  (I suppose that there must have been some small damage, though.)

In the next part of this three-part series, I will outline the scariest of the three incidents under discussion.

—Tom Sawyer

July 5, 2013

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