Inspiration From The Distant Past

Inspiration From The Distant Past
Found note in an old book... warms the cockles of my bookish heart...

Friday, January 29, 2010

Discovering Mrs. Baja Greenawalt!

Hello, bookfriends! Thought I would share my serendipitous discovery of Mrs. Baja Greenawalt, the inspiration for this bookblog.

The Setup:
Last October, my friend and co-author, DeLynne, posed this question on facebook: Can you find a note? Apparently, there is a group on Flicker that posts photos of found notes. Intriguing...

The Stage:
The school library... remember the entire school library being moved into my classroom.
Maze of Books
Look at it Now

You may know by now that I'm compelled to open and read a few pages of every book that catches my eye... and so many do. A very old worn book lying in one of the haphazard piles begged for notice. It was a 1933 edition of The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. Since I've been an anglophile from childhood, my interest piqued.

Opening the cover, my eyes were immediately drawn to the most amazing note written by Mrs. Baja Greenawalt in October 1951, exactly 58 years ago (found in Oct 2009). What a happy accident! Didn't expect to find a note for Delynne's hunt so wasn't even on the lookout. Certainly wouldn't have envisioned a note more suited to capture the imagination of a bookworm such as myself. Couldn't wait to share it with DeLynne, knowing she'd also be completely charmed by the note.

Mrs. Baja Greenawalt's Note:
Did you notice the penmanship? Who writes such elegant script anymore, much less in cursive? Cursive is becoming a lost art, you know.

Isn't the name absolutely captivating? Never heard one like it... in the 20th century but harkening back to an earlier era. To me the name is epic and romantic. Mrs. Baja should be a character in a book or a Masterpiece Theatre mini-series!

I find the message delightful. Could I be infusing it with sentiment not intended by the writer? I don't think so. Deep down in my bookish soul, I know Mrs. Baja Greenawalt is a kindred spirit.

The Quest:
Since discovering this note, I have been obsessed with searching for Mrs. Baja. Who is or was she? Where is she? Does she have a family? How did her book end up in a rural Oklahoma school? Has her life been adventurous and fulfilling?

The quest has begun but the trail is cold. I am optimistic, however, that Mrs. Baja will be found. As clues arise, I will keep you posted.

One more thing, no one ever read Mrs. Baja's book. No one ever signed it anyway. Just heartbreaking, don't you think? Mrs. Baja, where ever you may be, I am reading your book!


  1. I still haven't found a note, well I found one I couldn't share and one I couldn't touch. One from school that was obscene and one that had been on the floor in the toilets.

  2. That note is a treasure...what a great idea! Makes me want to plant some unique notes in books just to see what happens!
    Maybe you should make up a story about her?

  3. Thanks, Amy! I'll be blogging more about Mrs. Baja soon. I'm tracking her down.

    Oh yes, wouldn't that be fun to stick a note in a book for a future bookworm to find?! Think I'll do it.

    Don't think I have the calling to be an author but Mrs. Baja definitely needs to be in a story.

  4. Wow! This is pretty amazing :) I love all things vintage, and this can not get any more vintage than this!
    I know this is random, but when I read this, I immediately thought of this new movie coming out called "Letters to Juliet" starring Amanda Seyfried. It's the same concept as you finding this note, but it's a love story.

    Oh, and do you mean by tracking her down, do you mean you are trying to learn more about her and her history? I would love to hear more about this! Sounds veerrry exciting. :)
    Also, I gave you an award, it's on my blog

  5. Hey Jillian-- thank you for the award! You already know how much I enjoy your blog-- glad I spotted you on the bookblog discussion.

    I'm into vintage too and I love old note, letters, postcards. Thanks for the info on the movie--I hadn't heard of it.

    Yes! I am learning more about Mrs. Baja--- I'm planning a series of blog posts about each stage of the quest as I discover her history. so much on my plate but hope to get started on the first post soon.


    Oh yeah, very cool that you work in a speech therapy clinic!

  6. Wow that is so cool! Good luck tracking her down!


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