Do you know this book?

Today I experienced a feeling that I should probably make note of, for any future quirky characters of mine. It began after RhombusGirl commented on a previous post about her affinity for Little Golden books. I was reminded of the little metal bookshelf my grandmother kept tucked in the corner of the den. It was mostly shiny black with a few white accents and had wheels, even though it had no place to go. On it were stored a box full of crayons, coloring books and a plethora of Little Golden books, as well as a handful of other small children’s books. My favorite was the one about the doctor.

The doctor was a tall, slender white man with white hair, rosy cheeks, a white lab coat and an old black doctor’s bag, if I recall the illustrations properly. He made house calls to a variety of different creatures who had all taken ill. The only one I remember with any certainty was a snowman who’d stayed out in the cold too long and gotten frost bite on his foot. The doctor instructed him to wrap the foot in peeled potato skins, keep it elevated, and rest by the fire. This stuck in my head not because it was a snowman that had frost bite (ha ha), but because I had always wondered at the curative power of the potato skins. (I still think of them – perhaps erroneously – as something good for irritated skin.) There may have been an elephant with measles or chickenpox, another random critter with a cold or the flu, and something most definitely had a nose bleed… I remember having a fascination for the illustrated blood. The doctor took care of them all with empathy and compassion, then was on his way to the next patient. The story ended when the doctor himself fell ill and all of the people he’d helped came to take care of him. (At least, I think that’s how it ended.) Armed with this happy memory, I took to the internet to see if I could find its title!

I figured I had enough information to go on, but I was most certainly mistaken. After two hours of searching, I had nothing. The illustrations were akin to those in Scuffy the Tugboat so I figured it would be from the same era – 1940s or 50s – and I was fairly certain it was a Little Golden book. The only doctor-related book I could find meeting that description was Doctor Dan the Bandage Man, which was most certainly not the book of my memory.

The longer I looked, the more hopeful I grew that I would find it again. I had to find it, I thought. It felt important. It became an obsession! At some point I found myself thinking that if I could just manage to find this book, I would purchase it on the spot so that I could keep it forever. What had started as a simple, treasured memory became a dire hunt for this childhood relic. I grew frustrated and irritable. Google became my enemy for not making proper sense of my search terms. Where was this book?!

It was an anticlimactic ending that can be summed up as follows: I didn’t find it. The search only came to a halt when I became sidetracked with another equally nostalgic something. It was only then that I realized how crazy I’d become over finding the mysterious doctor book. I had to laugh at myself.

If possible, I’d still like to find it (in case anyone out there finds my description familiar)! But the most intriguing thing to me was how quickly my mind went from casual curiosity to passionate frenzy. This seems like something that could happen to any hero or villain that gets caught up in a moment. Could it even be someone’s fall from grace? Just getting too caught up in something, then not being able to let go?

Sometimes I think it’s important to note our odd behaviors and feelings so that we can better bring out the humanity of our characters.



Filed under Writing

2 responses to “Do you know this book?

  1. Forgive me for being late, but I regret the fact that when I moved overseas when I was 21, I got rid of all my Golden books, save for a couple of compendiums. They were the collated collection of myself and my two older siblings. Word to the wise: don’t do this.

    • Oh man! There are definitely some things in my life that I regret having parted with. It can be hard to know what is truly just “clutter” and what holds true value – sentimental or otherwise!

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