When I was 14 years old my mom gave me a book to read called Mrs. Mike. It’s a love story, she said. And a true story. ”Okay, Mom. Thanks” (Teenager translation: Not going to happen). So the book sat on my shelf for months, its white cover always standing out against the rest. Finally one day I just picked it up.
And I fell in love.
It was the first book I ever read that actually LOVED. That I was completely enveloped in. The book my mom got me is now worn and torn, pages are taped in and the binding is holding on by threads. I mentioned this to my mom one day and she sent me a new one, when it went into reprint in 2002. It wasn’t the same. Then two years ago she found me one of the earlier editions. The inside says fifteenth impression, though I’m not sure what year it came out.
Last week I re-read it and wondered it there could possibly be any first editions from 1947 out there? I got a hit on Google (actually three, but I one was in good condition). $20. Sold.
So I now own four copies of the same book.
Nancy Freeman died a few year ago and her co-author and husband, Benedict, died in February. Katherine Mary Flannigan, the real life heroine of this story, died in 1954, her husband Mike in 1933, only 15 years after the book ends.
This probably sounds ridiculous to most people. But I figure some people collect autographs or sports memorabilia, Star Wars figurines or rare coins. I find it no different than any of those. Or maybe it is different, because it’s not really a hobby. All I know is that I now have a first edition of Mrs. Mike and I’m incredibly happy.