Thursday, May 21, 2009

What is our legacy?

In the midst of a world that is too big and too fast, a world where information rules like a dictator and news travels like a virus, it is easy to be overcome by the hopelessness of the world and the helplessness of we, its keepers. What impact can we have? What traces will we leave behind?

History, I believe, is not the story of grand acts and masterpieces. History, instead, is the inexorable accumulation of tiny events--footsteps and glances, hands in soil, broken promises, bursts of laughter, weapons and wounds, hands touching hair, the art of conversation, the rage of loss. Historians may focus on the famous, familiar names--but history itself is made, day after day, by all those whose names are never known, all those who never made a proclamation or held an office, all those who were handed a place on earth and quietly made a life out of it.

So, what do we affect during our lifetime? What, ultimately, is our legacy? I believe, in most cases, our legacy is our friends. We write our history unto them, and they walk with us through our days like time capsules, filled with our mutual past, the fragments of our hearts and minds. Our friends get our uncensored questions and our yet-to-be-reasoned opinions. Our friends grant us the chance to make our grand, embarrassing, contradictory pronouncements about the world. They get the very best, and are stuck with the absolute worst we have to offer. Our friends get our rough drafts. Over time, they both open our eyes and break our hearts. Emerson wrote, "Make yourself necessary to someone." In a chaotic world, friendship is the most elegant, the most lasting way to be useful. We are, each of us, a living testament to our friends' compassion and tolerance, humor and wisdom, patience and grit. Friendship, not technology, is the only thing capable of showing us the enormity of the world.

Stephen Dietz, 1992.
Friendship exists, complete and absolute from the beginning. You don’t make friends, you recognize them.

I Want to Thank My Brain for Remembering Me

"When I was first starting to cover stories, I went to the auction of the great horse Nashua, in the main offices of the Hanover Bank, then at 60 Broadway. Nashua's owner, William Woodward Jr., had been shot by his wife, who said she mistook him for a prowler in their Long Island home. The racing stable was put up for auction. Nashua was separate. Nashua was a great champion. They took the returns at the bank."

Cinnamon Croissant Bread Pudding

The pudding is good without the sauce (if the idea of raw eggs bothers you). Dear Husband declared the pudding VERY good with the sauce and berries, and sans sauce and berries. He ate two healthy servings and proclaimed it delicious.

Tell me

Why would we prefer to know the worst than to suspect it? Because when we get bad news we weep for a while, and then get busy making the best of it. We change our behavior, we change our attitudes. We raise our consciousness and lower our standards. We find our bootstraps and tug. But we can’t come to terms with circumstances whose terms we don’t yet know. An uncertain future leaves us stranded in an unhappy present with nothing to do but wait.

eggs at Walgreens

Local Histories

Booking through Thursday

What book would you love to be able to read again for the first time?
A book I would like to read again as though for the first time would be Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham. A close second would be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

When . . .

I was searching for a parking spot at the library . . the thought occurred to me . . .
When we get our new library, there will always be available parking. I'm praying for that day!
Our library has obviously outgrown the present site.
I was visiting the library before I could walk and remember my mother juggling me and the library books on the way home.
As soon as I could read, I was borrowing library books and anticipating the delight of reading.
In recent years, technology has become an important part of libraries (as well as our homes and our workplaces . . . and in society in general). We are so fortunate to have excellent and dedicated librarians in our library; wouldn't it be nice if we had a new, up-to-date, well equipped, expanded, library . . .
The American Library Association states that the library is important "because it is the only institution in American society whose purpose is to guard against the tyrannies of ignorance and conformity, and its existence indicates the extent to which a democratic society values knowledge, truth, justice, books, and culture."
I pray that it will be sooner rather than later that the citizens of Seguin promote, advocate for, and support plans for a new library in Seguin.
Do you know that:
Libraries save lives. In a 1991 study physicians said that information provided by the library contributed to their ability to avoid patient mortality. The physicians also rated the information provided by the library more highly than that provided by other information sources such as diagnostic imaging, lab tests, and discussions with colleagues.
U.S. libraries circulate about the same number of items as FedEx ships each day, i.e., about 5.3 million items.
Numerous studies have confirmed that school libraries staffed by qualified library media specialists do make a measurable difference on student achievement.
There is now research to support what librarians have always said, i.e., libraries are busier during hard economic times.
Five times more people visit U.S. public libraries each year than attend U.S. professional and college football, basketball, baseball and hockey games combined. (1.1 billion vs. 204 million)
In a 2003 Wisconsin study, one-third of non-users of libraries said that libraries deserve more state financial support.
Library tidbits: The Farmington, New Mexico public library (take the photo tour) has an outside book return drop-off that automatically checks in the books. This is supposedly the only one in the nation; there is one in Germany Wouldn't that be nice??