Goodbye This Particular Past


FOUND by Andy Tuck at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan

My friend found an obscure library book on Victorian-era art (mostly silver cups, china cabinets, etc.) as a source for her thesis on Thomas Hardy. As I looked it over I noticed a 40-year-old inscription in the front, clearly written by the previous owner: someone named Penny telling someone named Martha, “May we never relive this particular past.”

I thought this was an odd thing to write in the front of a book being given as a gift. And why was it an “illustration of ennui?” I like to imagine that Penny and Martha were lovers, and celebrating the passing of an era that condemned all but the oldest and most restrictive forms of love. And why did Martha give away the gift? Was there a separation? A death?

Probably all just my imagination, but it’s still fun to wonder.