The Books from Floor to Ceiling
I took a deep breath in and began to inhale what would become the most intoxicating and addictive smell that I’ve ever known. The hundreds upon hundreds of shelves were filled with every book that I could ever want. Dust covered many of the shelves, as many have not been opened for decades. The smell of old paper filled the entire space, and the sound of the old wooden ladder creaking filled my ears with delight. I was astonished and knew that I never wanted to leave this place.
My grandmother placed her hand on my shoulder as she was explaining how she was so fortunate to gain possession of these amazing books. My eyes scanned all four walls of her library that were filled top to bottom with book after book after book. Many of the books had hardcovers with spines that were about to connect from the pages that filled them. The creaking ladder rolled along the wooden floor as my grandmother moved it from one side of the room where I was standing.
“Go ahead.” She spoke.
My eyes peeked up at her, “Really?” I spoke. She nodded her head and up that old latter I went. Her library was only one story tall, but it was plenty to keep my nine-year-old self occupied for a lifetime. I scurried up the latter a couple of feet and grabbed the first book that my arm could reach. As I pulled my arm down my grandmother said, “Now you have to be careful in here, not just on the ladder. You need to be careful with every book you touch. Some of these have been around for many years, and I would hate to see something happen to something so beautiful.”
My grandmother was always reading some sort of non-fiction book, as she was more into practical things, and things that made sense. Now don’t get me wrong, she also did love the occasional fictional book, as that was what sparked my interest in books in the first place, but she was always seen. My love for fictional books didn’t just end in her library, I also brought it to life. I would dress up for my entire family and put on shows for them while I acted out my favorite books.
I began to spend day after day in her library, reading every book that I could get my hands on. My grandmother was always busy, so she wasn’t always around, but she trusted me to spend time there by myself. The more I read, the more I wanted to keep reading. I had a newfound knowledge of so many things, and I wasn’t shy to let everyone know that I did. Just Imagine a little eight-year-old girl walking around and blabbing her mouth to anyone who would listen. Yes, most little girls are already like that, but reading all the books make it so much worse. My grandmother told me that to get me to shut up, she would have to shove more books in my face.
As I mentioned, I was addicted to reading at this point. By the time I was nine, I was going into fourth grade and was extremely advanced for my age. My teacher at the time just so happened to be very good friends with my grandmother, so they often communicated about my achievements. I was so ahead that my teacher would use me as an aid to help the other students in my class when she couldn’t help everyone at the same time. My grandmother was convinced that this was due to all of my reading.
As I was growing older and moving from grade to grade, I started to spend less time in my grandmother’s library and more time with my friends and technology. I saw my grandmother less and less and I often thought about how we weren’t as close as we used to be. In ninth grade, I remember vividly that I went to go visit my grandmother at her house. She looked different that day and I decided to ask her if everything was okay. Her eyes grew wet as she tried to not let out a tear.
“I just feel like I don’t see you as much as I used to.” She spoke.
“I know, I know I have just been very busy with school and my friends is all. I wish I had more time to do all the things that I would like.” I spoke.
She then asked me if I had been reading lately, and I took a long pause and began to think for a long while.
“No,” I spoke
The look that she gave me was full of hurt and despair as she replied with, “What! Why not?”
“I don’t know I just haven’t had the time I guess,” I said.
She took a long pause and said, “ My dear, you do realize the importance of a good book, don’t you? There is nowhere that a book can’t take you, and there’s nothing that you can’t learn if you read. I do realize that it must be very hard for you to balance everything, but that is only because you need your priorities to be correct. Now I’m not saying that you don’t have the correct priorities, but I am saying that maybe it is time to take a step back and look at where you are. In your generation, I believe that is very easy to become distracted with things in your life that are only temporary. Technology makes it very easy for us to become distracted and caught up in the fast-paced lifestyle. I just want you to remember that while you think that all of this is important now, the knowledge that you can gain from a book will last you forever.”
“Well, I guess that I hadn’t looked at it that way. I’m so sorry.”
“Sweetie, don’t apologize. I just want you to realize that the temporary things are not as important as the thing that is going to last forever.”
My love for books started with my grandmother, and her library. Throughout my whole life, my grandmother was always a pivotal piece into who I am today, and always encouraged me to reach my full potential and try new things. My love for books started with my grandmother, and her library. Throughout high school, and even now the conversation that we had that day has stuck with me, and probably will forever.
I still have such a craving for knowledge, and always want to learn more. I truly do believe that we do have many things in our lives that are only temporary, and those are normally the things that we tend to pay the most attention to. My grandmother and her library have taught me the importance of putting myself first. Not only that, but knowing to know that the important things in life are the things that cannot be replaced. All of the technology and the things that we can replace with time are the things that I do not want to prioritize in my life.
I have learned over time to prioritize my knowledge more than anything because it is something that I can constantly access and can continue to grow on. This is all because of my grandmother and her books that went from floor to ceiling.