Friday, March 27, 2015

Books Upon Books, Back to Back

The Colonel and I once again attended the Florida Antiquarian Book Fair in St. Petersburg on Friday, March 13th. Like last year, it was held in the Coliseum.

Like last year, the book fair did not open until 5:00 p.m., so we had time to fill with other things before the doors opened.

We visited the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

We were impressed by their exhibits. We are not baseball fans but currently there is an exhibit room filled with baseballs. Every ball is signed by a famous player, politician or movie/T.V. star. It was interesting to see all of the autographs. The Colonel has always liked Barbara Eden of I Dream of Jeanie fame and we saw the ball she signed.

There was a little room with Egyptian items. Below you see a mock-up of what King Tut would have been buried in. Three sarcophagi within a stone container.

There was also a mask of Anubis and a replica of King Tut's chair.

A 2,600-year old sarcophagus, made of cypress, was standing in the corner of the room.

In a glassed case was a 3,000-year old mummy. She was about 35-years old when she died and was from the middle class (which was determined from her diet, which had been high in protein).

How did the mummy and sarcophagus end up in St. Petersburg, Florida? In 1920 a circus boat tied up to a dock for repairs. The boat's captain was unable to pay the bill so he offered the dock master the Egyptian exhibits as payment. Four years later the dock master donated them to the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

In one part of the museum was a replica of the Benoist flying boat. A manikin of Tony Jannus, the first airline pilot, was inside the flying boat.

One last exhibit the museum offered was one about the Fountain of Youth and Ponce de Leon's search for it (the exhibit was on loan from Spain). Alas, I did not take any pictures. One aspect of the exhibit was very interesting and fun. There was a large, flat, rectangular pad on the floor. The pad looked like a 3-D pool of water that you could step into. When you stepped into the "pool" or the "Fountain of Youth" the water would ripple wherever your feet landed and sparkles would float among the ripples. There was a sound component to the pool too. When your feet disturbed the "water", it sounded exactly like water rippling. I loved it, I was just like a kid playing on that thing.

When we left the museum there was a statue of a newspaper boy holding a paper.

On September 1, 1910, The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg's daily paper, initiated its famous "Sunshine Offer". Proclaiming St. Petersburg to be the "Sunshine City", Lew B. Brown, editor and owner of the paper vowed to give the paper away "absolutely free-without cost or condition-to subscribers and strangers alike...every day the sun doesn't shine on St. Petersburg."

The offer, which remained in force until The Evening Independent merged into the St. Petersburg Times in 1986, attracted national attention, enhancing the city's image as a popular tourist and retirement community. Over this 76-year period, the paper was given away only 296 times.

The Colonel said he had gotten one of those free papers during a spring break visit to his grandma's when he was a youngster. He doesn't know what happened to that free paper. I wonder if it would be worth anything now?

After our museum visit we walked along a waterway. We passed a very beautiful, public, comfort station. 

The inside was not as impressive as the outside.

Across from a bench we sat upon was the famous St. Petersburg Pier and its inverted pyramid. The pyramid is coming down and the pier is going to be renovated.

At the end of our waterway walk was the gorgeous, historic Vinoy Park Hotel that was built in 1925.

We eventually made our way to the book fair. We walked around like we did last year and we made a few purchases. I bought an autographed copy of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings', The Yearling. 

We made it back home that evening around 9:00. The next day we went to a book sale at a local library that Darling-Sister-In-Law had told us about. 

Two dollars could get you a plastic, grocery bag filled with as many books as you could cram into it. The Colonel and I made our way around the room, picking through books on the tables, and in boxes, that were under the tables and against the walls. We ended up filling two bags with books for ourselves and for Yam and Spud.

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