On Finding Old Family Treasure

I know I am an old soul, and probably that’s one of the reasons why I am always drawn into anything vintage. Not to mention the fact that I can’t find the joy (yet) of reading books on my gadgets. I know it’s not that environmentally friendly, but I still love the real deal (would be better if it’s a second-hand book or a gift from someone): appreciating the cover, touching the edges, flipping the pages, reading the messages or underlined quotes someone had written inside… and don’t you think the smell of old books should have been bottled to be sold in supermarkets and sprayed in bookstores and libraries?

Thus, finding several old books from my grandfather’s collection was a bliss! A beautiful French dictionary (love that pocket-size thing and it’s vintage blue stained-cover!), a small Thai dictionary & phrase book, plus a Teach Yourself Chinese book! I know my grandfather (from my father’s side) loved books and that he spoke a little bit of Chinese and Dutch, but at the time he was still alive, I was still a little kid–and I didn’t know that he had this extensive interests towards learning foreign languages.


I glanced at my bookshelf where my phrase books were stacked neatly on top of each other. French. Greek. Arabic. Spanish. Hindi and Urdu. Russian. Wow. Now I know where my fascination for foreign languages originated from!


I also found this holy treasure, Highroads of Literature (1927), and let out an excited shriek every time I looked at the beautiful paintings inside the pages–accompanying Tennyson’s The Lady of Shallot and Shakespeare’s The Tempest.



Another amazing finding was this Robinson Crusoe’s book, because there’s a purple stamp from the bookstore where the book was bought… and it was a pure bliss to find the word Buitenzorg stamped on it! Buitenzorg was the name given to my hometown, Bogor, during the Dutch colonial era. It meant something close to “a worry-free town”, where the summer residence of the Dutch East Indies Governor-General was located. This city of rain, that was surrounded by mountains, became a ‘resort’ town where the Dutch escaped from the bustling (then, and still bustling until today) Batavia (the Dutch name for the country’s capital, Jakarta).



From my grandmother’s side, I actually bumped into this amazing thing: Madame Wong’s Chinese Cookbook. And look at those hand-written chicken-feet recipes on a piece of paper tucked inside the pages!



Not to mention that the book has these beautifully breathtaking hand-drawing illustrations to show you the final look of the meals and the cooking steps–instead of photographs that you usually find in modern cookbook!


Have you ever found an old family ‘treasure’ lately?

11 Comments on “On Finding Old Family Treasure”

  1. waaah keren! aku juga suka buku-buku tua. Sayangnya kakek nenek ku bukan tukang baca, jadi spertinya agak mustahil menemukan buku2 tua milik mereka. There are plenty to be had in England, It is not however as valuable as those belong to the family.

    • Indeed! Apalagi aku nggak pernah sempat kenal dekat dengan kakek-nenekku karena mereka meninggal waktu aku masih kecil, so I haven’t had enough time to learn about family history and such thing… jadi it’s a great experience to get connected through them through these things :D

  2. astridreza says:

    jadi kepikiran buku2 di lemari kakekku di bogor, it is untouched.

  3. Me too! Though my mom kept everything all to herself as a piece of memory from her mother. I got myself two handwritten recipe books from my mom, which to me equals the value of ancient books :) suka pgn beli buku lama disini tp aku takut sama kutu buku!! XD

  4. I have a pair of sunglasses that my dad got in New York sometime in the 80s. The lenses are emerald green. I found them randomly in our beat up Toyota under the seat a few years back and he gave them to me. They’re super retro and the lenses are heavy, maybe glass, definitely not plastic. I still wear em! :)

  5. sandalian says:

    Wow, what a treasure!

    I can imagine the smell of those books, old style prints, and the manly Robinson Crusoe!

  6. adinparadise says:

    What beautiful treasures you have found! Your reference to The Dutch East Indies intrigued me This is where my late father was born and brought up.

  7. SiMunGiL says:

    I got goosebumps as reading your passage of treasure here! Very rare, collections! If only mine hasn’t been vanished because of the flood..:(

  8. Yulia says:

    Amazing treasure :). Priceless!!!

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