THE $100,000 BOOKCASE

2012

Happy New Year Dear Grandchildren,

I like books and accumulated a lot of them by the time I married Daisy Alonso in 1974.  So I decided to build some nice bookshelves to help furnish our house in the Miami suburbs.

The plan was to build bookcases that were seven feet tall by four feet wide.  They would stand on either side of our king-size bed.  I drew the cases to have six shelves of varying heights to accommodate books of all sizes, art work, and even sculpture pieces.

Wood, screws, carpenter’s glue, wood stain, and such were purchased at the  lumber yard.  I was pleased when my new father-in-law, Alfredo Alonso asked if he could join me in the project.  I had a week off work and our two car garage to pursue on the project.

I acquired a skill saw, an electric drill and a set of special, counter-sinking drill bits to make the job easier.  We would be able to drill a pilot hole and countersink the screws without having to change bits.  I made sawhorses from scavenged two by fours and began a project that would enhance my life in years to come.

The plan was brilliant, the execution was capable and the big, handsome shelves fit the bedroom walls “just so.”  My books and I were home.  But the biggest benefit was working with Alfredo.  He was a great father-in-law, a wonderful companion and a so-so carpenter.  We bonded better than the shelves which were only held by screws and glue.

Other parts of our lives were not going so smooth.  The big thing was that my new four-year-old stepdaughter was kidnapped and taken to the middle east, two times, by her biological father.  First time to be abandoned with his family in Lebanon, and the second time he took her to the remote country of Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. But that is another story.

In the course of our affairs Daisy and I have moved eleven times in thirty seven years.  We always rented until we got to Waynesville, North Carolina in 1995. The first few times we moved in response to threats of future kidnapping by the Lebanese ex.  Other moves were in response to changes in fortune.  We took the children, the furniture, and my beloved bookshelves.

The shelves moved to the office overlooking the pool in our second house and to the living room in our third house.  Then there were a series of townhouses – we put the big shelves in the bedroom in Kendalltown, in the dining room in Kendall Village and then back to the bedroom in the next two townhouses.  By this time we were empty nesters.

We moved to a log cabin in Nantahala Village, North Carolina in 1987 because the off-season rent was only $300 a month.  After a few winter months we rented a lovely six-bedroom, one-bath, farmhouse in Bryson City, North Carolina.

Our bed and the bookcases always were the first things that were placed in our many homes.

We finally bought a house in Waynesville, North Carolina.  A sixty something year old stone cottage with a fireplace.  The bookcases were placed on the living room wall.  In the course of events we remodeled the house to build a large master bedroom suite, a dining room, decks, and a front porch.  I made another matching bookcase so that the c

This was our living room in Waynesville. You can see a good bit of the bookcases here, on  either side of the door to our bedroom suite. The books were mostly donated to the Haywood County Library.

This was our living room in Waynesville. You can see a good bit of the bookcases here, on either side of the door to our bedroom suite. The books were mostly donated to the Haywood County Library.ases would be longer by four feet and grace either side of the door to our bedroom suite.

It hurt my feelings a little when decorator Daisy demanded that they be painted white.  I well remembered the rich Catawba Black wood and the polyurethane

varnish that made the wooden shelves sheen so richly.  I knew how durable the finish was since I’d manhandled the units in and out of ten houses, through many doorways and up and down stairs.

But Daisy is my queen and I painted them white.  I even installed lights over the top shelves.  She was right – the cases looked terrific!  When we sold the Waynesville house in 2007, the new owners paid handsomely – they liked our stuff and bought all of the furniture, the television sets, the sculptures and, of course, the bookcases.

Ah well.  No matter; our home stager made me get rid of the books anyway.

I figure that the buyers of our house may have paid an extra hundred thousand dollars for the shelves.  The price of the house, after twelve years, the white paint on the bookcases, and other improvements, was about six times the price we paid in 1995.

My advice kids is to do a good job when you make something.  It may stay in your lives a long time.

Love, Grandpa

Categories: Bill's Blog

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