Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2016 Issue

A Year Like No Other

Bruce McKinney, fine with some wear and tear

A year ago, in December, I had elective open-heart surgery.  Congenital issues were in play and my doctors felt they could intervene to alter the pattern of early death by heart disease that is epidemic among men in my family.  The procedure was partially successful and I’m reporting in from the warm side of the mortal coil.

 

Then in September, as if to pack as many difficult situations as possible into a single year, I was hit by a car while walking.  So much for stop signs and crosswalks.  The low speed, reported as 15-17 miles an hour, saved me.  The driver was distracted and did not brake until I was thrown onto the hood of his taxi.  He then jammed on his brakes, throwing me a dozen feet ahead.  Over the next 6 days a debate raged as to what action should be taken.  The triage center at San Francisco General found I was substantially intact except for my left leg that was broken in six places.  Such multiple fractures can be complicated and my HMO declined to advocate a surgical solution.  Another surgeon, introduced by a friend, suggested a complete recovery was possible using screws, ultimately 9, to put the leg and ankle back together, then to be followed by a month strapped to a motion machine to kept scar tissue from reducing the range of motion.  This worked and 4 months later I have substantially resumed my daily walking regime.  I’m walking 3 miles a day and hope to be back to 5 by spring.

 

As if in compensation for the car accident a long-time member of AE/Rare Book Hub, in late September asked what it was I most hoped to accomplish with the site, and I said “completeness”, the building of a complete record of book and manuscript auction lots back to the American Civil War.  He then said he thought he had many early catalogues, they among material purchased in 1948 at the dispersal of unclaimed goods at a public warehouse in New Jersey.  You see, he’s 84 and has been at this for close on seventy years.

 

A few days later he confirmed he still had them and they are now ours.

 

The health issues have been difficult but that chance conversation has set the course for an extraordinary 2016.

 

So I’m grateful.  2015 was a difficult year and ’16 is encouraging.  What else can you ask for?

 

Best wishes for the New Year;

 

Bruce McKinney

Rare Book Hub / AE

bmckinney@americanaexchange.com

877.323.7273 or 415.823.6678


Posted On: 2016-01-01 07:06
User Name: aeg

Sorry to hear about your health problems, Bruce, but I do understand how your passion for "completeness' in your chosen area of interest can be a valuable diversion. I have now hit 70 and am still adding books to my collection (for that illusive completeness).
I enjoy your monthly commentary and wish you a healthy, prosperous and peaceful 1916
Paul Craft


Posted On: 2016-01-02 22:08
User Name: TwelfthStreetBo

I was dismayed to read of your 'annus horribilis' ! It must have been awful. Yet, every first day of every month, Rare Book Hub/AE promptly appeared with its interesting and important material that I enjoy and look forward to. How did you do it??? Hopefully you have recovered and have now set the bar impossibly high for we bibliophilic walkers. Bruce, I remember a phone conversation with you several years ago, and I've never forgotten what a warm and interested and kind person you are. I wish you a very Healthy and Happy and wonderful 2016.


Rare Book Monthly

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