• A Lettered Home

Library Day

The first place I ventured out to after having my first child wasn't to the mall or out to lunch, it was to the library. Bibliotheque is one of only a handful of words I can remember from my high school French class. When we moved to a new area after nearly twenty years in the same place, the first place I learned how to get to (after the grocery store) was the local library. Some of my earliest childhood memories are pedaling down to the teeny tiny library in our little town with my girlfriends. We would sit on the floor for hours and read before leaving with a bicycle basket-full of books. Books have brought me a sense of comfort all my life. This website marries love of books, reading, family and home. I have a tripped planned today. To the library. I'm excited. My library days have taken many forms. That first trip with my two week baby in tow became toddler story hours, summer library craft time, readings in the park, lunch-time baby story hour, author visits - spanning four children's childhoods. Today I go to pick up this month's book club read. Library trips look different now, I will go by myself. No kids in tow but still I look forward to walking in the doors and feeling that sense that the books are welcoming me in. That same old sense of comfort.

'I have a tripped planned today. To the library. I'm excited.'

A dear friend recently visited and I took her to the Redcliffe Plantation in Beech Island, SC. A beautiful plantation home (with a less than beautiful history, to be sure). The original owner James Henry Hammond was a real piece of work. However, later descendants were of a more decent variety including John Shaw Billings who was the editor of Time, Life and Fortune magazines. He eventually donated the estate and entire collection of books and furniture to the people of South Carolina in 1973.

The home has a library that remains intact today. So far we have been blessed to have one home library. It looked nothing like this one, but I loved it and hope to have another some day. Until then, we have several bookshelves, one in every bedroom and several in our family room. Cicero said, 'A room without books is like a body without a soul.' I couldn't agree more.

'A room without books is like a body without a soul.'

The bookshelves in this home were custom made from the strongest wood available on the plantation. We could see that the years were taking its toll. They were bowing in the middle with the weight of the books. The antique writing desk is where the children that resided at the plantation over the years did their schoolwork. There was a beautiful view to the Savannah River from the second story, although this time of year we were not able to see it through all the trees. This represents a bygone era, I would love to see it come back to homes, perhaps not to this degree but homes with a little space carved out where families can sit and partake in the joy of reading together. What are the anxieties of society that might be solved with this simple practice? I daresay, most.

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