Sunday, February 15, 2015

A long and involved story, or, Dorrie Did a Bad, Bad Thing Twenty Years Ago

(sigh) Oh, Mickey...
So. Today’s trip to the Flea Market, a usually wasted visit except for the bit of walking exercise, netted several things. Namely a big, juicy reminder of how bad a person I am. And because I’m so bereft of character, I assume you want to know all about it, and proceed to share it with you. Consider reading it your penance for some sin far lighter than mine.

Okay. Here’s the situation. About 1995, when my ‘Animation As ART’ passion was at its peak, on a whim, a dear friend of mine and I stopped in a small art gallery near a craft store, and were surprised to learn they sold rare animation art. I soon latched on to a like-new copy of The Art of Walt Disney From Mickey Mouse to The Magic Kingdom, by Christopher Finch. I’d seen this book before, in the Reference section of our county seat Library, but the librarians guarded it so closely, I didn’t dare touch it, even as an adult. It is a stunning book. Curious, I asked if it was for sale, and was told that yes, it was – for the cover price of $75. My MasterCard was yanked from my wallet so fast, it left friction burns, and smelled like scorched leather for years. I was soon on my way with my treasure. I don’t think I even looked at the cels at all that day.

Here’s my fall from grace, my demonstration of exactly how much of a rotten human I am. A few days later, I get a call from the gallery. The answering machine got it, I worked second shift back then. That book was not supposed to have been sold, so could I please bring it back for a refund ? I got another, slightly threatening call, saying the same thing later the same day. And I… never returned the call, never went back to the gallery, avoided the street the overpriced craft store and guilt-inducing gallery were housed on, and hoarded the book away from so much as the light of day. I should have done the right thing. I could have been a better person. Because I never read the book. I wanted to keep it so much, yet was so upset at myself, and the book was so rare, I just couldn’t bring myself to even open it. Shortly later, I met and ended up marrying Beloved Hubby, and when it was time to move to his state, I cushioned the book in my passenger seat and drove to the gallery. It was gone. It wasn’t even in the phone book any more, and the phone number on my receipt (it was still with the book) got me an irate homeowner, not an art gallery.

Two years later, I ended up selling the book for exactly what I paid for it to someone who wasn’t nearly as enthused about it as I had once been, but I was sort of desperate to get the guilt and shame away from me. I’d done the wrong thing, and selling the book didn’t absolve me, I would always know that I was precisely what I pretended I wasn’t – a selfish, petty, greedy jerk, no matter what I tried to think otherwise. It still hurts to know that.

So today, when I found a beat-to-bits version of The Art of Walt Disney From Mickey Mouse to The Magic Kingdom in a flea market booth, I almost felt like I was being punished. But, with permission, I opened it up, and it was nearly perfect within, despite the battered, torn-up cover. I started to think that maybe I’d punished m’self enough, and that this was my chance to actually read the book that had haunted me for so long. Twenty bucks ? A bit on the pricey side, and pretty much all my spending money for the next week or two, but… okay. I told Dearest Son of my history with the book, and he seemed pleased to know his Draconian momma was just another regular human who screwed up and made bad choices, too.

While he watched his new DVDs, I had some time with my new book. At nearly 500 pages, it’ll take me a while just to read it, much less absorb all the gorgeous, rare art. And when I’m done with it, I’ll see if maybe our Library wants it, and can do something about the cover. Maybe in that fashion, I can be absolved just a little bit.

Irony : Did some homework, as the cover on my ‘new’ one is far different than the paper slipcover that came with the ‘Art Gallery’ one. The one I hoarded was the full 458 page 1983 or 1988 reprint (i.e., not the smaller Concise editions released about the same time). The one I bought today is a first edition. Only one edition had this cover, and I got one of ‘em sitting here.  Unbelievable. 

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