It was a library, an ancient one, I could tell by the style of the shelves and stairs. No library like that had been built in hundreds of year, and certainly not in America. The books, I could also tell, were huge; as if they were vellum manuscripts hand copied in the middle ages.
I never dreampt I would one day be there.
Yet I was, a few years later.
The Bibleotekdirektor had tracked me down through the internet. He had read about my family story in the local newspaper, the Frankisher Tag, and the family history I’d written. My great grandfather had been born in a nearby village. It was local history and he wondered how his library might be able to obtain a copy. He invited me to visit if I would return again to Reckendorf.
A few years later, I did. It was not a public library, but a research institution. I asked for him at the entrance desk, and he, shortly, came to escort me to his office. I was surprised to see his name on the office door, having forgotten that Bibliotekdirektor meant: Library Director. He was in charge.
He asked if I would like to see the ancient library that had een disassembled from its castle home and reasembled in his library.
“Yes,” I breathed with excitement. This was astonishing, but more astonishment was to come.
We went into this library within a library. As he was showing me around, someone came to find him. He was needed some place else. Knowing I was a fellow librarian, he asked if I could stay and not touch. I assured him I would never touch what all that was so priceless in this room. Satisfied with my integrity, he left.
For several minutes I was alone, suspended in the ancient past. Where those shadows of ancient lords and ladies which moved the air around me? Was I still in the twentieth century? If so, there was no evidence of that (I had forgotten the electric lights above me!).
And, I knew that, in these hundreds of volumnes around me (and they WERE written on vellum pages) I could NOT READ ONE WORD!!! What a humbling experience!!! One I will never forget.