Stefanie Dreyfuss of Westport, Connecticut, was a beloved grandmother and an avid reader.
However, relatives and in-laws weren't aware of how deep her literary passion was until she passed away at the age of 96. Dreyfuss's daughter-in-law stumbled upon a veritable treasure trove of index cards that archived every book the grandmother ever read.
"I lost my mother in law last week. She was 96 and one of my best friends," wrote author Lauren Tarshis on Twitter. "A lifelong lover of books, she kept track of all she read on index cards and recorded her opinion in code. This is the key to her code and the cards we found among her belongings."
I lost my mother in law last week. She was 96 and one of my best friends. A lifelong lover of books, she kept track… https://t.co/CaJlIRSJLt— Lauren Tarshis (@Lauren Tarshis) 1527339291.0
One of the photos is of Dreyfuss's handwritten grading scale indicating she was a discerning reader who had strict standards for critiquing books.
Here are some examples of her codes determining readability specifications:
- NFM: Not For Me
- G: Good didn't hold my attention
- NMS: Not my style
- RR: Readable
- WOT: Waste of Time
@laurenTarshis @janemerrick23 ILT- I love this IIM - If I may SM - Such memories WAW - With acerbic wit TTG - Time… https://t.co/xBKXkgRTm3— Felix Holt (@Felix Holt) 1527452392.0
Tarshis, an editor of Scholastic's Storyworks Magazine and author of the book series "I Survived," shared another photo revealing her mother-in-law's compilation of favorite quotations.
Something more to share from my mother in law’s life, the book where she collected quotations. We discovered this… https://t.co/SUxSaqO6qR— Lauren Tarshis (@Lauren Tarshis) 1527530151.0
Dreyfuss is posthumously setting literary trends.
@laurenTarshis This is cool! I teach at a classical school where our students do a quote every day in their learni… https://t.co/HXhFigV44V— Christyn King (@Christyn King) 1527536792.0
After a few comments praising her mother-in-law for her intellect and grace, Tarshis revealed that Dreyfuss was a self-educated woman.
@laurenTarshis Clearly a fantastic classically educated honourable lady and no doubt a great friend and relative fo… https://t.co/x01ZWjKGWQ— John Wright (@John Wright) 1527530965.0
@JW_3736 What’s amazing John is that she had to leave school at the age of 16 ... she is completely self educated.— Lauren Tarshis (@Lauren Tarshis) 1527548948.0
Tarshis's tweet has gone viral, garnering over 19 thousand likes! But, in spite of all the admiration, Tarshis has one regret:
The only sad thing about my late mother-in-law becoming a viral sensation is that we can't call her to tell her that she is a viral sensation.
The only sad thing about my late mother-in-law becoming a viral sensation is that we can't call her to tell her tha… https://t.co/cTiK88ZmZR— Lauren Tarshis (@Lauren Tarshis) 1527869201.0
Dreyfuss remains adored.
@laurenTarshis Anyone who can recognize “Readable Piffle” is someone I would have enjoyed meeting.— M Shafer (@M Shafer) 1527874611.0
@laurenTarshis Think of all the people out there who will be talking about "readable piffle" thanks to your mother-… https://t.co/wAbCjPeNxq— Rebecca Leon (@Rebecca Leon) 1527876352.0
@laurenTarshis I read the 1st two definitions of your mother in law's code & my immediate thought cloud was "this w… https://t.co/WSUGDmpByw— MeeGee (@MeeGee) 1527544303.0