Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Very Special Birthday Surprise

This my friends, is an extremely special birthday gift. This is the culmination of 5+ year search for a photo of this building. It's an enhanced print of the original Bill Library in Ledyard, Ct. In 1867, $1000 dollars was given to the Town of Ledyard by Mr. Henry Bill, to establish a free lending library. You can read about it here, thanks to Google's book project.

Always a voracious reader, landing my first "adult" job at The Bill Library, earning minimum wage of $1.60 an hour in 1971, was more than I'd ever dreamed of. Quite a change in status from babysitting for only .50 an hour! I read almost every book in the library.

The library had ghosts, leading to my lifelong interest in such matters. I learned alot about life from working in the library and it didn't all come from books. I also met The Viking in a very unusual circumstance in the library, a long time ago. There are many heartstrings tied to this modest Queen Anne building that sits across from the Congregational church, in what use to be the center of a tiny New England hamlet.

Because it was such an everyday part of our lives, no one took photographs. Developing was expensive in those days and in my family, at least, mundane daily things didn't rate the expense. Eventually, the town decided to expand the library. I had not seen it for many years and then one visit home, it had morphed into this.

My sister, Chia (crafter extraodinaire) also worked there as a teen. It was a big part of our lives. Off and on, we've both tried to find an old photo of the original building with no luck. Then one day, months ago she emailed me a black & white photo! The Holy Grail ( or one of them anyway) had been found!

She has a knack that way. Some day, I'll tell you about her amazing luck in reclaiming a photo album of 1800's era relatives that had quite a journey.

Not long ago, on her blog she describes how the black and white came to be this impressionistic print that is now mine. To most other people, it's just another building that has been modified to better meet the needs of our growing society. To me, it's a treasure chest glowing in the darkest corner of an attic, full of mystery and promise.

I am touched beyond words.

1 comment:

Chia said...

I'm glad you like the gift, Wendy. I thought it would be the prefect thing for you. It was a bit hard to part with.. I've had it sitting in the living room for a couple of weeks and growing more attached to it each time I saw it. I'm glad it found a loving home.