Saturday, October 25, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

There was magic in encyclopedias; now it’s in iPhones

By
From page A2 | January 08, 2013 |

One of my daughters received a loooong awaited iPhone for Christmas. That was around 10 Christmas morning. Before Christmas dinner, I confiscated both her and her older sister’s iPhones for a few hours to ensure some family connection time. Still, just before I went to bed Christmas night, I received an email from my cellphone provider that half of her data plan allotment for the month had been used. Half!

Her sense of awe and wonder at her gift was a little like it was . . . magic. It’s a source of information, connection and wonder. And you know what? It is all those things. So this is no diatribe against kids and smartphones. It is about encyclopedias.

Follow me here. Printed, bound, old-fashioned encyclopedias. Earlier this year, Encyclopedia Britannica announced that after 244 years it would no longer print its volumes, sales of which had dwindled for years. Its focus continues to be online, of course. Also this year, my siblings and I moved my dad out of his condominium and into a terrific elder-care facility and what was one of the treasures from his home that found its place in mine? A beautiful, 21-volume set of the World Book Encyclopedia, this one from 1989. World Book is still publishing its printed version, probably for nostalgia more than anything else.

I was thrilled to get it, not just because my mother sold World Book encyclopedias during the 1980s when the printed versions were going strong even though a new set was many hundreds of dollars. I was thrilled because of what that set of books meant to us as kids. The bound books we grew up with from the 1960s were white and green and I don’t remember when we got that set – it was likely for Christmas – but I do know how we revered it. It was a source of information, connection and wonder. Those glossy pages with their gilt edging and their unique smell were filled with . . . magic.

As a kid I would spend hours pouring over the knowledge they contained. I especially liked looking at the pictures of the pyramids and the ancient world, but I also remember being fascinated by everything from Helen Keller to minerals.

For me as a child, like for so many of us, the contents were a sure bet for book reports. Of course, we always had to consider how to use the World Book without following it so closely that the teacher could tell it came from World Book.

My favorite part? The “human” entry where one translucent page would fall on top of another, finally filling out the internal organs of the human anatomy. I spent hours on that. To me those volumes were otherworldly. To my parents I imagine they were a sign of having achieved middle-class security.

I don’t know what happened to my family’s 1960s set. But I think of them fondly when I look at my recently acquired 1989 set. And, I admit, when I see my daughter with her new iPhone. Yes, spending time on Facebook and Instagram is not the same as researching the pyramids, I suppose, though this is a daughter likely to do both and download countless books onto her iPhone along the way. But still, I’m reminded in looking at her, just a bit, of that sense of being lost in those magic, translucent anatomy pages when I was a young person.

Sure, as printed volumes of encyclopedias become a collector’s item, like printed maps, typewriters and vinyl records, I find myself a little sad that my children don’t know those glorious pages, that amazing smell. They connect to the world in a different way than we did as children. And yet I’m also reminded that we adults too often believe that “magic” has to look the same way for our kids as it did for us. How wonderful that that’s just not any truer now than it was when our own parents thought the same thing about their children.

It really is an amazing world.

And somehow, I don’t think I’m the first parent to see that or, well, to remind her child of the “magic” of sometimes putting down whatever distracts us from personal relationships, and, oh yeah, free Wi-Fi connections where available.

Betsy Hart’s latest book is “From The Hart: A Collection of Favorite Columns on Love, Loss, Marriage (and Other Extreme Sports).” Email hartmailbox-mycolumn@yahoo.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

 
 
Cut-a-thon to help fight cancer, abuse

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Fall Harvest Festival brings children back to school

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Optimist Club brings youth together for Halloween golf

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

School board candidates forum set next week

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
 
Staying active may prolong your life

By Scott Anderson | From Page: B8

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

.

US / World

Suspect arrested in death of 2 California deputies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 5 Comments

 
KC-10 from Travis lands in Houston, smoke in cockpit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Reagan astrologer, Joan Quigley, dies at 87

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4, 2 Comments

 
Jury says castrated sex offender should be freed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

School gunman was Homecoming prince, students say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
Lava creeps toward road on Hawaii’s Big Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Remains belong to missing Virginia student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Dallas nurse receives thanks, hug from Obama

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 14 Comments

NY, NJ order Ebola quarantine for doctors, others

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Gunman in Canada attack complained about mosque

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Egypt declares emergency in northern Sinai

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Militant group said to be using chlorine bombs

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Putin accuses US of undermining global stability

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

 
.

Opinion

Return Garamendi to Congress

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 27 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 25, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

SEIU shouldn’t own Board of Supervisors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 7 Comments

 
Vote, and make a difference

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Yes on Measure A

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Spering best choice for county supervisor

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8, 8 Comments

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 25, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 25, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

 
My mother-in-law wants me to convert to Catholicism, but I don’t want to

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A7

Hello Kitty turning 40, and the birthday bash will be ‘supercute’

By Mcclatchy-Tribune News Service | From Page: B8

 
.

Entertainment

TLC cancels its ‘Honey Boo Boo’ series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9, 1 Comment

 
P.D. James’ riff on Jane Austen comes to TV

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B9

 
.

Sports

Vintage rolls past Armijo, 55-8

By Mike Corpos | From Page: B1

 
Mustangs fall flat in rout by Wildcats

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1, 4 Comments

Royals beat Giants 3-2 for 2-1 World Series lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Vargas to take on Vogelsong in Game 4 of Series

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Falcons hang with Wolves in 34-8 setback

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Hamilton helps Vanden sink Vallejo, 35-0

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B1

Unfazed, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh doing it his way

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Lloyd leads US women past Mexico 3-0

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Raiders’ Woodley, Young expected to be placed on IR

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Henley’s putting gets him lead at Sea Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Judge halts New Jersey’s sports betting plan

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Joe Maddon exercises opt-out, won’t return to Rays

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jamie McMurray bests Chase drivers to win pole

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Attorney: NFL, Ravens not helping union in Rice probe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

SCC women’s soccer team falls to Mendocino 3-1

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, Oct. 25, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
.

Business

US official: Auto safety agency under review

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Ford profit falls in third quarter on truck costs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Procter & Gamble taking out its batteries

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
UPS expects double-digit surge in Dec shipments

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

US new-home sales close to flat in September

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Obituaries

Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
.

Home Seller 10/25/14

Real estate transactions for Oct. 25, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2