We were about to leave Barnes & Noble yesterday when Hydra pointed out a display of Thomas Guide map books next to the door. My mouth dropped open. Joy!!
I thought these had gone the way of the dodo, but they live on! When I searched for new ones just a few months ago, they weren’t available.
I turned right around and took this to the register. For those of you who are unfamiliar with them, these map books are amazing. My brother gave us one when we first arrived in California 29 years ago this month (yipes!) and it was invaluable. Wonderful system of map pages, very user friendly. It was our favorite state-warming gift to newcomers for a long time.
My love of maps was born somewhere on the road in the late sixties, heading out on vacation, watching Kitty’s finger trace the possible routes through the Smokies or the Blue Ridge Mountains on our way to South Carolina and the ocean.
I told the cashier, probably in her early twenties, how excited I was to find this.
She hefted it over her shoulder, “Wha? What is this?” she joked.
“I know, right?” Then I told her how when I was in middle school I was into maps, and finding out about other parts of the country, I wrote to chambers of commerce of different cities and they’d send me brochures and free maps. For a while I had several of these on my bedroom wall. (Including the home town of an actor I had a crush on.)
“That’s how you do it!” she exclaimed. “I just moved into a new apartment and my roommate and I want to have a wall of just maps.”
See, so my goofy chattiness pays off sometimes. I hope that chambers of commerce still do that!
Yes, I did unwrap it in the car and we did look up our town on the map. I love being able to really see how the geography works. It’s easy to forget in this GPS-world that Acton lies right before the 14 freeway makes a basically 90 degree turn from due east to north.
We used to get a new Thomas Guide every time we bought a new or new-to-us car.
“New Thomas Guide,” Hydra said, “Does that mean we get a new car?”
I’m not sure it works in reverse… I’m so happy to have this updated, not-tattered version! The old ones are marked up a bit with people’s names at the top of their pages, and their homes marked with an X.
I think that some of the maps for unincorporated and less populated parts of Los Angeles County were omitted in the the new one version because it is smaller and lighter. No matter.