It's lovely when things just come to you, unexpectedly.
I got an email about a month ago from a kindly soul who said she had an old Collins' dictionary that was inscribed to a Lily Wilkinson in 1924, and would I like to have it?
It was her husband's, the kindly soul told me. He used it to learn English when he first came to Australia. It's such a beautiful little dictionary, with lovely little woodcut illustrations.
The inscription says "To Lily, with love and best wishes from E Anderson, 2.11.24", and above it is written "Miss L Wilkinson, Post OFfice, Woodford". I'm not sure if it's a Woodford in Queensland or England or the US, and I'm pretty sure that this Lily Wilkinson isn't directly related to me (surely Family History Mother would know if she was), but now I'm all afire with curiosity to learn who she was.
In her email, Joanna (the kindly soul) said this: "Only if 'old books' could talk... you could find out so much more."
She's right, and yet I also love the mystery of an unknown Lily Wilkinson. She could have been anyone. I wonder what her favourite word in the dictionary was.
I'm pretty sure this dictionary will make its way into a novel or story sooner or later, so thank you, Joanna, for this amazing and generous gift!