Submitted by AVRL patron Anne Pollett.
I have always been curious about why we always seem to veer back to the beaten path. Consider when we walk through the woods. We might discover new vistas or a decomposing tree still standing upright almost like a sculpture, or maybe, nature’s footprints. But at some point we stop to locate the familiar, possibly through sound, or through the compelling direction of the wind, something to indicate the sure and tested way home.
A good idea will do that to you.
At the Walker Farm, what really changed the appearance of the property over four generations was the addition of the notable long paved driveway, uncommon to the other homes along old Highway#1. There’s a particular reason for its existence, how it was gradually formed years ago due to a bit of circumstance.
Mel, my husband’s father drove the big machines for Standard Paving back in the day. And at day’s end he could bring the truck home and dump the excess pavement on his drive. With that pavement base and gradual extensions by the family over the years, the driveway grew into what it is today.
Years ago when the Bookmobile needed a place to park to serve the community, the Walker driveway became the logical location. And that’s when paths were altered, particularly my husband’s, who became the first of his family to go on to university. Only this morning, Mo, always an avid reader, quoted. “The greatest gift of the government to our generation was the WPA program known simply as the Bookmobile. Those of us who loved books didn’t learn to love them at school; we learned a love of literature by reading the adventures of Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and Richard Hamilton.”
For those of us who need a passport to other worlds, countries, words of solace or adventure, books are our necessary consumable supplies. They are our beaten and familiar paths to the past and off to the future. Remembering those first tentative steps up to the open door of the Bookmobile parked on the only paved driveway in “this here parts”.
How we access books and other forms of writing may change, but the words of others will continue to tickle our imaginations, to take us on new journeys, from which we can return sated, mainly because those paths have been well-paved. For members of the Walker Family, there was a defining moment in their lives in the 1950’s due to their paved driveway affording a space for the local Bookmobile, which brought both learning and social connotations. It might seem that Bookmobiles, considering today’s technology, would and maybe should no longer be relevant, but not so, as seen, by this recent photograph of today’s Annapolis Valley Bookmobile, bringing books to daycares, schools and residential facilities still going strong.
I can only conclude that just like a good long refreshing walk in the woods, the Bookmobile was and always will be, simply a good idea.
This is an excerpt from Anne Pollett’s piece “Paving a Path…in praise of bookmobiles”, from the series “Along the Road” (Stories of Old Highway #1).