This weekend at a fair I bought two ledger books. Nothing valuable, but the sort of encounter that sends a little frisson up my back.
The lady selling her pile of bric-a-brac saw me smiling at the pages and sidled up to me with a much much smaller book in her hand. “You might like to look at this one too”, she almost whispered to me.
The little notebook had a handwritten label on the front: “Recettes et Dépenses”, (income and expenses).
I opened it to find a notebook, a financial record for the year 1912, whose sparse pages spoke to me of a simple life with few and inexpensive needs.
I thanked the lady enthusiastically, and she told me the book had been her great uncle’s. He apparently bought bicarb of soda, shaving cream, stamps and other small necessities.
“Why are you selling this?” I asked; “But why would you want to buy it?”, she replied. !!
[blank]*[this is in old francs, so today 44 francs would be worth 67 centimes of a euro or 0.86 US$][blank]