One of my habits near an addiction level is used books. I have my nose in a book just about every day. My interests have changed over time and rarely do I read anything but non-fiction. Reading to learn and explore has become my driving force and somewhere along the way I picked up a love of poetry. Old or new, if it rhymes with good meter a poem often feels like a song being sung to my soul when I read it.
Used books stores are favorite places and when visiting a city it’s a special treat to visit one of the local stores stocking previously owned books. My favorite in the town where I live is a huge, cluttered and rambling place called “Gardner’s”. The store is not just enjoyable, it is a sort of refuge for me. If I am feeling down, going there is always a pick me up whether I buy something or not. That’s the reason for a late afternoon visit yesterday.
It’s particularly meaningful when I read an inscription a person wrote in a book given as a gift. Other times I find interesting clipped articles that may or may not have anything to do with the subject of the book. Bookmarks left in an old book sometimes present food for thought. Then once in a while I’ll come across family photos and feel a little sad that the images have been separated from the loved ones where they belong. Always before there has been no information on any such photos so I could attempt to return them; at least until yesterday.
On my desk before me are the four photos at the top of this blog. My favorite is the one of the two elementary school children. The others help me to know what they grew up to be. The boy became a military man and the girl became a care giver.
The only date indicated is the bottom middle photo: May 2001. That means the top center photo of brother and sister is from somewhere around the late 70’s, maybe early 80’s. The top center photo has info on back I hope will allow me to return to where they belong: “Nici & Travis Unser, Colo. Spgs, Return to Lynn Unser”.
For all the slams the internet may receive, there are many benefits such as looking up strangers from just a little information (assuming it is done with good intentions such as mine). Here’s what I found that I believe relates to the Unser’s:
Nici and Travis’s father is Al Unser, who retired not long ago as CEO of the Greater Tulsa Association of Realtors. Travis graduated from Bishop Kelly High School in 1996, and in 2000 graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from The Citadel in Charleston, S.C.. In late 2008 he came home from serving his third tour in Iraq as a Naval Aviator with the U.S. Marine Corps. Nici (Nicole) lives in Dallas and is a Neonatal ICU nurse for Baylor University Medical Center. “Nici” was recognized as Nurse of the Year in her unit, and has been nominated for the Dallas’ Great 100 Nurses award. She is a 1993 graduate of Bishop Kelly High School and a 1997 graduate of Baylor University. Here’s the photo that accompanied this info.
With further digging I discovered that Mother, Mary Lynnn Unser, passed away in June of 2007 in Tulsa. Since the little kids photo was back inscribed “Return to Lynn Unser” I feel especially compelled to get these photos back to her family. I am certain the inscription is in her hand.
In the grand scheme it’s not a big deal if I am successful in returning the photographs. Only a small act of kindness will have been accomplished. As emotion wells within, I hope I succeed but realize that the doing of the self assigned task will benefit me most. It is in making a different; in doing little things to make the world slightly better for having been here that are meaningful to me. I am grateful to have grown into my skin over the years to be a gently caring man to whom something like this would matter.
There is overwhelming evidence
that the higher the level of self-esteem,
the more likely one will be to treat others
with respect, kindness, and generosity.