One day, a few years ago, my husband read a notice that our local public library would be auctioning off their old card catalogs. Being the ever-supportive spouse of a librarian, he closely monitored the bidding to ensure that we would snare one. Since we knew that the proceeds went directly to the library, we were happy to keep increasing our bid. The auction ended and we were now the proud owners of a card catalog. As fate would have it, since were were responsible for the transport, we happened to have easy access to a moving truck right at that time. Come to mama, you beautiful card catalog, you!
The decision to keep this in the living room was practical and not aesthetic. Card catalogs are heavy! Neither my husband nor my father-in-law, nor I for that matter, cared to lug this thing down two sets of stairs.
As you can see, it is certainly worn. I made the conscious decision not to do any work to it. I wanted to preserve it exactly the way it was when it entered retirement. You’ll notice that the drawer pulls are mismatched. Just another part of its charm. Two of my favorite drawer description labels are: GIN – GOO and HO – HORS.
Having a card catalog in one’s home is quite a conversation piece. If we host a party, guests will stand around it with cocktail glasses in hand and pour through the cards. Much like all librarians do, right? Some people are surprised that the original cards are still in there. I ask them what they were expecting. Some say recipe cards, others say nothing but empty drawers. I wouldn’t dream of getting rid of the cards. It would be like buying a classic car that had the engine removed.
The most endearing thing about having this card catalog is that it came from the public library my husband used from elementary school through high school. He most likely used this very same card catalog when he was doing book reports and summer reading assignments. To me, that just brings everything full circle. Little did he know then that one day, out of the love he has for his wife, he would bring that same card catalog into their home.