Once, a long time ago, I stopped to admire the Magic Marker doodles that my daughter, Maud, about a year and half old at the time, had added to the pages of one of her books, and my ex-husband, Andrew, got a little tweaked. He said he thought Maud shouldn’t be drawing in her books; he thought it was desecration, though he didn’t put it that way (these were chunky childrens books we were talking about, after all—something Maud had probably chewed on a few months before: Rhonestly). That’s when I realized that there were two kinds of people: those that wrote in books, and those that didn’t.
I can understand both sides—some people like things worn, others like them whole. But what I would have missed to not have found my college boyfriend’s notes to me in the margins of the books I was reading for class. And cookbooks! Andrew, that is the chili we made and the red wine we drank twenty-five years ago—right there on page 57 of Good Enough To East: Bountiful Home Cooking! Without those stains, I would not remember. And I want to remember everything.