During the loss of electricity and lack of internet access, we return to our relatively ancient 1972 Encyclopedia Britannica, (First Published in 1768 by A Society of Gentlemen in Scotland) which back in the days before Google and Wikipedia, were actually used frequently for homework and book reports, but mostly to settle dinner table conversation disputes.
I had forgotten the deep satisfaction of thumbing through pages upon pages of knowledge, more than one mind could ever hold, the delight in reading aloud about dead Presidents of the USA, or how poisonous various spiders are and where they can be found in the world, the history of the small traveling circuses, the life and death of Houdini, anything about Frank Lloyd Wright, Alcatraz and Al Capone.
Of course, more current and up-to-date information isn't there, wasn't there, will never be there. It is writing frozen in time. But there is a slow glacial beauty and tantalizing truth, and the choose-your-own-adventure quality to see also related topics which invariably led to other arguments, discussions, and ultimately shared knowledge.
I am astonished and humbled to have had one foot in that era, and one foot in this confusing, amazing world of new technology. But today, the nostalgia won as we talked in a darkened room about a workman's face, when my mother said she wished she could have photographed his face, how every line, worry, and joy was there.
Then she paused and shyly said, "I could be another Grandma Moses," which is what caused the old encyclopedia set that has been sitting patiently above the fish tank, to smile ever so slightly through the dust and cobwebbed years of neglect.