When I was a child I used to love to go to my grandfathers house. It was an older three level house on a decent sized lot. His backyard always had a functioning vegetable garden, herb garden and grape vines that he would harvest every year to make his own preserves and wine. The basement level was more of a mini natural history museum filled with rocks, minerals and fossils that he gathered in travels around North America ( He drove around the continent, never setting foot on an airplane). The other two levels were filled with bookshelves wherever a bookshelf could seem to be fit in. My grandfather was a big believer in, "If you want to learn how to do something; teach yourself". I was told that he never progressed beyond the 5th or 6th grade in formal education, yet when he retired he did so as a senior engineer from the US Steel Corporation. He was a walking wealth of knowledge and he continued learning right up until he was done living.
My mother once said to me how his massive library was an odd combination of books on many subjects, dating back well into the 1800's filled with obsolete general knowledge, science, engineering and many other subjects. She further commented on not understanding why he kept all of these 'obsolete' books. Her comment resonated in my mind for many years. As an adult I came to appreciate the times in which he lived; As a young man he lived through the 1918 Influenza outbreak that took so many lives and put such a strain on our society. He navigated the un