My husband and I took a tour of a historic mansion owned by a former Secretary of Transportation in Nebraska City. The Arbor Lodge is a wonderful trip back in time to the presidency of Grover Cleveland. As fascinating as the history of that time and place and the Morton family was, it wasn’t what held me in awe as we toured it. These large opulent rooms were definitely indicative of another time. A dining room table that would seat a baseball team, multiple sideboards and still plenty of room to walk around. A billiard room and a parlor and rooms large enough to accommodate large swells of political gatherings. And nearly all those rooms contained one thing in common, bookshelves. Lining multiple walls, some open, some glassed in, but all gloriously full of wonderful old books. Even the billiard room had bookshelves along two walls.
The thing that struck me about this is the dearth of bookshelves in homes today. Rarely will you find bookshelves in more than one room, and on multiple walls in multiple rooms? Unheard of. What this tour reminded me rather painfully is that we are no longer living in a world that appreciates the lure of a story well told. We no longer take the time to bury ourselves in books when we can get instant gratification from movies, TV, the Internet. Walking the halls of that beautiful mansion, I looked at all those wonderful books long abandoned to the obscurity of a historical landmark. Abandoned in the only place left where they are appreciated, a place in history.
It still makes me sad weeks later.