Tuesday, February 06, 2007

All the Books in the World

Today would have been my grandfather's 98th birthday, and there are probably enough wonderful stories I could share about him that I could fill up an entire blog, but I'm just going to share one quote.

In November 1983 we taped my grandfather reminiscing about his childhood. My mother (his daughter) asked him the following question: Did you like to read a lot when you were young?

He answered:
Well, I, yes. In this one room school they had a library there. The whole library was in one bookcase. And as far as I knew that was all the books there were. And so I resolved that I was going to read all the books that there were. There was just the one bookcase full there. I thought if I did one a year I could get through it. (laughter from assembled family) I was amazed to find that there were a lot more books than that so I had to give up that idea. I was fairly good in arithmetic and I was fascinated by numbers and fascinated by how numbers kept on building. And I didn't yet get the concept that there was an unlimited number of numbers. And so these numbers, I knew that they kept on going, so I didn't quite know how far they went, so I thought 'well now, I'm going to write them all down and find out how many there are,' (laughter) I know. This was when I was in grade school. I never got that question resolved.
Leo Tanghe (1909-1998)


Nancy said...

You're so lucky to have this!

Christine M said...

Yes - and my great-uncle once made everyone write their autobiography - we have great life stories of people who are gone - my great-grandmother wrote hers only about six months before she died.