These two books were recently returned to Trail high school - 50 years after they were unofficially taken out. (Submitted photo)

Books returned to Trail high school, 50 years later

It’s never too late to return your library books!

Better late than never?

This quandary came up when Ray Van Den Nieuwenhof decided to insulate the attic of his Rossland home last weekend. Shortly after starting the job, he lifted up some dusty old boards and was surprised to find two perfectly stored books below.

“I lifted up the slat to put the insulation in, and here were these two books from J.L. Crowe that were taken out almost 50 years ago and hadn’t been returned,” he laughed.

“So I thought to myself, ‘Well if I take them back are they going to charge me like, two grand in late fees?’”

The two romantic fiction novels were never checked out from the J.L. Crowe library almost 50 years ago when someone – likely the teenagers of the previous homeowner – snuck them out of the high school repository in the early winter of 1972.

Why they ended up under a slat in the attic will likely remain a whodunit.

The ending is known, however, because Ray – known to locals as Aussie Ray – decided to take a chance on the price of a good deed and return the books to the high school.

“I suspect the books ‘mysteriously’ made their way out of the library,” Marilyn Lunde, teacher librarian, told the Times.

“Both books still had their cards in them indicating that they weren’t signed out otherwise the card would have been in the library at the circulation desk while the book was on loan.”

The Nobody Waved Goodbye book had circulated five times in three weeks between Oct. 31 and Nov. 20 of 1972, she added.

“It must have been a page turner!”

Though dog-eared, Daphne Du Maurier’s The Blue Lenses and other stories time card is not stamped, but a quick internet search shows the book was first published in 1970.

“It is never too late to bring them home! Your books, that is, even if it is almost fifty years later,” Lunde said.

“Thank you to this benevolent returnee, Aussie Ray from Rossland, for taking the time to show good will.

“It just goes to prove that in these times, there are good news stories, and it’s nice to have a local story that makes us smile.”

Read more: Crowe grads get their time to shine

Read more: Crowe grads donate to COVID relief

RosslandSchool District No. 20 Kootenay-Columbia

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