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Denise (Martel ’81) Trull
Denise (Martel ’81) Trull

Alumna author Denise (Martel ’81) Trull’s latest article for Dappled Things is a reminder that life sometimes offers unlikely solaces in the midst of change. For Mrs. Trull and her husband, Tony, now preparing to move out of the family home, that unlikely solace was a battered box of old books.

Over the years, Mr. and Mrs. Trull have sent four sons to Thomas Aquinas College — David (’13), Thomas (’15), Ben (’19), and Reuben (’24) — but their sons fell in love with reading long before they studied the Great Books. Mrs. Trull’s article recounts watching her sons each discover the box of science-fiction books that their father had collected when he was a teenager.

Rather than solely offering her own impressions, she weaves her piece together from reflections written by the Trull men, each describing their encounters with the books in the box. She even excavates some of Ben’s childhood drawings, inspired by those books, from other boxes in the basement! As she moves from one son’s thoughts to another’s, she revels in the quiet joy of watching them wake to the wider world through their encounters with her husband’s books. “I have discovered over time,” she writes, “that sometimes love does not ask to join in, but is most content to watch the beautiful from without as it falls upon familiar faces like golden sunlight.”

Mrs. Trull’s essay offers hope to parents on the edge of an empty nest and unsure what to make of that prospect. “We have given away many books as we prepare to empty this nest forever. But that box of books — it will be coming with us,” she writes. “One day, there might be a grandson or two who will find that box in the basement by a snow covered window, open the lid, and release the magic anew.”