Some days I forget why I thought moving 12 hours away from Steve and my family and everything else I’ve ever known was a good idea. Today was not one of those days. Today was, in fact, one of my favorite days ever.
My Rare Books class had on campus day today. We met in the Rare Book Library, and it was the best thing ever. This is why I am here. The magic began right away. Today the Rare Book Library was hosting a Tea Party for some 4th graders in the area. The main room was decorated with Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll items. They had some of his letters on display, and pictures of Alice Liddell and her sisters. He invented lots of games, and so there were examples of how to play and his old chess/backgammon board. There were fun stamp holders, and a long long table covered in flowers and tea cups and tea pots. It was so exciting, and I imagine that being a kid in that room would be awesome.
After everyone got there we all filed into the reading room, where the staff had set up some books for us to look at. All of the books we saw were beautiful and exciting and inspiring, but there were two that completely blew me away: Shakespeare’s First Folio and the Book of Genesis from the Gutenberg Bible. There really is not way to describe how incredible it is to stand before pages from the Gutenberg Bible. I kept thinking about learning about it as kid, and just how important it is to our civilization, to my profession! Next to the leaves from the printed bible they had an example of a handwritten manuscript from earlier in the century. It was so neat to see the differences between them, and the similarities.
And the First Folio! It was beautiful. It was smaller than I thought it would be. For some reason when we talked about it last year in my undergrad Shakespeare class I imagined a huge book, not just in thickness but in length. The First Folio wasn’t too much bigger than my own copy of Shakespeare. We looked at the watermark, and we saw how rebinding and washing (oh God, the idea of someone WASHING a first folio hurts me!) had damaged it.
As if that wasn’t enough to make today unforgettable, Steve should get here in a few hours! I don’t know how other couples deal with in, and if I thought this might last for more than a year I don’t know if I could do it. It’s been a long, long two months, and I can’t wait to see him. A whole week together! A year ago that would have been normal, but now it is the most amazing of gifts.
I am the happiest person today 🙂