gary and jan

We’re Gary and Jan Bloom.  We love books, especially vintage and out-of-print treasures published prior to the 1960’s.  We write about books, we buy books, and we sell books.  Oh, did I mention we also keep books and have our own library at home?  Home is in Minnesota, yah, sure, you betcha!  We live in a small, rural community an hour west of Minneapolis.  We are on the road at least 8 months a year, so this blog will be mostly about things we think of or notice when we are traveling.

I (Jan) received a degree from the University of Minnesota College of Education with a major in Physics and a minor in Math.  I taught 9th grade science in a public school.  It was a challenge. I liked teaching, but I wanted to teach students who wanted to learn.  Once I was home with our first baby, Jenni, I had no interest in going back into the classroom.  Our third child, JJ, was born on Jenni’s third birthday, with Jodi, our second daughter,  born halfway between them.  In 3 years I had 3 children.  YIKES!  Parenting demanded all my time – thinking of our children’s education was way off in the future.

We began our homeschooling adventure in 1982 after attending a L’Abri seminar and hearing Ranald Macaulay speak on “The Educational Philosophy of Charlotte Mason.”   We were introduced to learner-friendly education where parents share the wonders and puzzles of God’s world with their own children.  We were delighted when we discovered that our desire to “hang out” with our children for a few more years instead of sending them to school, was NOT unique to us and, most importantly, was a GOOD thing!

We made plans to keep our oldest, Jenni, out of kindergarten that year.   Later that same summer Gary heard James Dobson interview Raymond Moore, an advocate of delayed learning.   We wrote to Dr Moore who informed us that he would be doing a seminar in Minneapolis that October.  We attended, met other people daring to homeschool, and joined their ranks.  Does God guide our steps, or what??!!

Our homeschooling began with reading, reading, reading.   I began with the books suggested in HONEY FOR A CHILD’S HEART by Gladys Hunt.  As time went on, there were more books with more authors and lists, like BOOKS CHILDREN LOVE by Elizabeth Wilson, and FOR THE CHILDREN’S SAKE by Susan Macaulay.  I began searching for the books they recommended to put in our home library.  I began finding duplicate copies.  I began selling the duplicate copies in order to pay for the books I wanted to keep.  I eventually crossed the line between bibliophilia (the love of books) and bibliomania (the name says it all!) and thus this website!

I began selling used books at Minnesota homeschool book sales in 1989 – back when MACHE was at Crystal Free Church.  In 2000, Gary and I ventured out of Minnesota to 3 sales in other states.  In the spring of 2001 we added more states to our travels, until finally, in February of 2002, Gary quit his full-time job and we “hit the road” as full-time homeschool conference booksellers.  (A brief note here – Gary went back to college and finished a B.S. degree in Psychology from Northwestern College.  So now HE understands why we do what we do…) 

Our three children were homeschooled until they went to college.  Currently (2007) our oldest daughter, Jenni, is finishing her Master’s Degree in English as a Second Language from St Cloud State University.  She and her hubby, Jason, are the happy parents of Michael, born 11-18-04, and Charlie, born 1-13-07.  Jodi, our second daughter, works in downtown Minneaplis.  She’s our bookhound, associate book buyer, and conference helper.  She is working towards an accounting degree.  Our son, JJ, is in the Navy, currently assigned to the aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE out of Norfolk, Virginia. 

Had anyone told us 10 years ago that we would be traveling together in a van 8 months of the year, showering at truck stops, sleeping in WalMart parking lots, and sharing our lives with strangers at homeschool conferences, we would have quietly excused ourselves and gone somewhere to chortle and guffaw.  NOT US!   But it’s what we now do and we LOVE it!  It’s always an adventure – traveling, talking, selling, buying, laughing, and experiencing God’s kindness and mercies daily.

 

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2 Responses to “About the Blooms”

  1. Kyla Says:

    Hi Jan and Gary!

    Long time since Nashville – but hey, remember if you’re ever in the St. Louis area, on the Illinois side and need a place to park, you can park here. Jan – I’ll even let you use the big jacuzzi tub with candles and music! Gary – you can head to the back yard and fish with the rest of us.

    Hope to see you soon, and have another evening of fun! There is a WalMart lot not far from here in case Gary just has to get the parking lot fix in.

    Stay in touch!
    Love and hugs,

    Kyla Unick

  2. April Montgomery Says:

    Jan and Gary,
    Wow! That first part sounds like where we are right now, as a young homeschooling couple with two young children. I am working on our library using the Honey for a child’s heart and Books children love while reading For the Children’s sake. I can’t imagine us living out of a van, but only God knows what lies before us. Thank you.

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