Hermits Rock

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I have often said that should a thief break into our home they would be most disappointed. We have, of course, our wedding china and crystal, but it is classic middle-class American fare, nice but not a treasure in and of itself. We have a few oil-paintings, none done by artists of note; though, we do have a few of T’s grandmother’s paintings, which are minimally worth something, only in southern Ohio, where for over thirty years she painted and sold canvasses for a pittance. Among folk art historians of a certain region of Ohio, apparently, she is known. Still, our T.V. is over eleven years old; our laptop, over four; our radio, sixteen; and so it goes with our mounds and mounds of stuff. Upon the death of my grandmother, I got some Native American stuff (shhh! don’t tell my cousins), but even these pieces by well-known potters, are hardly worth a dollar, as they came to me glued back together. We do, though, have many books. A respectable collection of first editions (e. e. cummings complete, t. s. eliot complete, randall jarrell complete, t. roethke complete, e. b. white’s essays, rabbit redux, rabbit is rich, rabbit at rest—but not the all important, hard to get, rabbit, run—, and a number of other 20th century American novelists and poets, but as you can tell, it’s the complete or collected, not the first run, hard to find, things like blood from a stranger or even sleeping with one eye open or some such book), a friend did give me an 1804 edition of Don Quijote in English, but it’s in rather bad shape, and so go my books. Nothing screams value, and when it comes to books, you have to know what your pilfering and have a buyer buying, I suppose, for it to be worth anyone’s while. So, as home break-ins have gone up in the past few months, little have we worried about our stuff.

Until yesterday.

I was coming home from helping sort food at a homeless shelter, when T called me to tell me that our storage unit had been broken into during the night, and could I go and see if the thieves had taken anything. Most of the stuff marked fragile (that is, china, crystal, pottery, etc.) is near the back of the unit. At the front is 1/3 of my library, mainly obscure stuff from Colonial Latin America, my entire collection of Dominican literature, and a good bit of my Mexican poetry, none of it being the first editions of poetry. I should, but don’t, have my library fully inventoried; and, though, I’ve been finding that shelfari has many of the titles, even some of the more obscure ones, they don’t have all the titles and they often don’t have the specific edition, especially of the Spanish and Latin American poetry. So, I drove over there rather bothered, not because I assumed anything of real monetary value would have been taken, but because, how in the name of the god Thoth would I be able to remember the specific titles that were stolen? When things of this nature are taken from you, and you haven’t inventoried them, the memory of their absence lingers like a lone fly in the living room on a summer night, buzzing around just outside of the field of vision; it takes years to miss and remember the book.

However, when I showed up and the nice ladies from the front desk drove me to the unit, I was quite happy to see that nothing had been taken. Needing to optimize their efforts and not waste precious time on things that would not sell, they ripped open the first five or six boxes they could lay their hands on and left to tear the doors off other units and disembowel other people’s boxes, in hopes of hitting pay dirt.

I have always said, when we get hit, they thieves will curse our name at their having risked their lives for what? for naught but books.



Lucky you! I had a storage unit in AR broken into once. Fortunately, I had just sold the kayak, but the stole what was essentially a small fire safe. It had sentimental things in it—the only photographs I ever knew of my sister while undergoing chemotherapy, for example, and both of our baby books—but nothing worth money. They also stole an alma mater-branded sweatshirt that I never wore.

My grandmother thought that having a messy house was a good way to avoid getting robbed, but sadly, such is not the case. She lets guests of importance use the one remaining knife from the silver that was stolen.

I’ve never had anything stolen but bikes—so watch out with that new one there, Greg!

Ah, it is locked up in the back utility room. I hope that will suffice, though of course I do not know…