Have you ever opened up a used book, in a bookstore or at a library sale, and found something interesting inside the book? Many people, it seems, have found strange things that were used as bookmarks and left behind by the previous owner of the book, things like slices of cheese, speeding tickets, snapshots of nudes, and even squirrel tails.
Over the years, Hamill and her cohorts have found personal letters, valentines, used engagement calendars, photographs and pressed flowers in books.
"I find it rather touching," she said.
But there was the man who, while examining books at one of the sales, discovered $75. "He kept it all," Hamill said. He returns each year.
Thankfully, I haven't found animal parts or food in any of the thousands of used books that I've handled over the years. But I have found three or four old bookmarks, signed and dated, from the early 1900s that were really beautiful and well preserved. My favorite find, though, was a hand-written receipt from a Houston hardware store, dated June 1936, which detailed each purchased item and its price. It was like a little snapshot of a time long past and made me wonder about the person who first placed that receipt in the old book so long ago.