Friday, February 3, 2017

A Field of Dreams

I love books.
I could spend hours, maybe even days, in our local library.
It's big enough to have a decent selection, yet small enough to know where everything is.


Our 500,000+ square foot downtown library is amazing. The architecture alone is spectacular. 
But it's so big, it can be a bit overwhelming.


However, our little neighborhood library, the Eugene Field branch, is just right. 
Kind of like the three bears' story. 
Just right.


I love to read and usually check out three or four books every couple of weeks.  
I always select an extra book or two in case I don't really like a book once I get into it. 
There are too many books I want to read to wade through those I don't love.


I've been going to my local library for years and never paid much attention to the name
-- the Eugene Field Library. Until a day not long ago when I was at an estate sale.

Always on the lookout for old books with beautiful covers, 
I spotted a thin faded-cream volume with daisies on the cover. 
Upon picking it up, I was pleasantly surprised that "Brilliants" was written 
by none other than my very own Eugene Field.


It was in poor condition, its pages loose and likely to escape at any moment. 
So I clutched it tightly and took it home with me.


Then I decided to find out more about my library's namesake. 
Do you ever wonder who these people are that public buildings and streets are named for?


I found out Mr. Field had lived in my neighborhood for two years in the 1880s as the editor of the local newspaper, the Denver Tribune. He was most well known as an author of children's poetry.


Interestingly, his father, Roswell Field, represented Dred Scot 
when the slave sued for his freedom in 1853. 
Although he was unsuccessful in his fight,
his case was instrumental in eventually abolishing slavery. Fascinating.


While in Denver, Eugene Field lived in a sweet little cottage
which was later saved and moved in 1930 to our local Washington Park
thanks to Margaret "Molly" Brown's foresight and means. (She's always surprising me.)
It served as a small branch library and now houses the non-profit organization, The Park People.


Next to the little house is a wonderful often-photographed statue called "Wynken' Blynken' and Nod," portraying Field's most famous children's bedtime poem, originally titled "Dutch Lullaby."


The story is about three children who fall asleep dreaming of sailing
among the stars in a boat that's a wooden shoe.


This lovely bronze illustrating the poem was donated to the Eugene Field library.


My little Eugene Field book is now tied securely together with twine 
and holds a special place on my mantel, an appropriate nod to a man who loved books.


"Wynken, Blynken and Nod one night
Sailed off in a wooden shoe
Sailed on a river of crystal light,
into a sea of dew . . . "


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Linking with:
DwellingsBetween Naps on the PorchCoastal CharmCedar Hill FarmhouseA Stroll Thru Life,
Botanc BleuSavvy Southern StyleA Delightsome LifeHave a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson,
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French Country Cottage

59 comments:

  1. What a charming serendipitous find! I love the Park People cottage and had no idea Eugene Field had lived there. Thanks for sharing some wonderful pics and a bit of local history!

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    1. Thanks so much. I've been touched at how many people have enjoyed this little story. Hugs, Pat

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  2. How wonderful you were able to obtain that bit of history, love hearing about things like that. Do you ever wish you could go back to those times in a time machine to see what life was like then?
    Would love to be able to visit that cottage. It looks so cozy nestled in the snow, and how incredible is that statue and bronze? Makes me want to visit Denver.
    We live on western slope, few miles west of Grand Junction. Have only gotten to go thru Denver on highway to and from on way to other places. We moved here from western KY. Have 2 kids here.
    We lived in Co Springs in 1969/1970, our youngest was born there. Was very hard for my husband to find work there after 9 yrs. in Air Force so we went back to Tucson where we met after 10 months in Co Springs. Our daughter was 7 weeks old when we moved back to Tucson.
    So glad you shared about your beautiful library and Eugene Field.
    Hope you have wonderful weekend

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    1. Thank you so much for visiting and I hope you get to come to Denver sometime.Glad you enjoy hearing about history and the people who lived before us. Hugs, Pat

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  3. I certainly am familiar with Wynken, Blynken and Nod!
    The small neighborhood branch of the municipal library was, for me as an adolescent (Phyllis A. Whitney's "Mystery of the Golden Horn,"--I remember it like yesterday), a wonderful place. A wall of windows, very '70s architecture. I loved it. The sunlight. The books. Though I've never met a library I haven't liked.
    Today I bought a stack of books, perhaps unloved but I loved them for various reasons. I am very happy with my purchases. Mostly French schoolbooks. Perhaps I will learn something. At last.

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    1. I'm with you. Never met a library I didn't love. One of my favorites was in southern California in a little beach town. The library had a big window overlooking the ocean. Sigh. I hope you enjoy your stack of books. Always enjoy hearing from you. Hugs, Pat

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  4. How special that you found that book, and that it led you to find out more on Eugene Field. The poem you mention "Wynken, Blynken and Nod" was one of my Father's favorites, I suppose from when he was a child in the 1920's. However, he used to recite it to us when we were young, and this story of yours has me thinking to hunt up some of Mr. Field's writings.

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    1. Thanks so much Cynthia. I love your story about your father reciting this poem to you. I was actually not that familiar with it until I dug into it a bit. Hugs, Pat

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  5. Hi Pat, what a wonderful post! I have a few things to tell you about my connection to this post. First of all I love old books too and am going to post about a few of them next week. Yours looks great there on the mantel. And then Eugene Field, I just visited his St. Louis home and toy museum in December and went to the Court House and stood in the room where the Dred Scott case happened! I will be posting about that some day. :)
    The Brilliant book you found is wonderful! I used to work in an Elementary School library where we had lots of his books because he was a famous Missourian at one time.
    Thanks so much for such a wonderful post, I really enjoyed it!
    Happy February!
    Gina

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    1. Thank you Gina! I'm so glad you enjoyed this post and am happy to hear from so many people who related to it. How thrilling to visit Field's home in St. Louis and even the famous court house! I think he actually spent more time in Missouri than Colorado but he did have some nice roots here. Hugs, Pat

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  6. Thank you, i loved your story and love to go to the library also.Have a great day.

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    1. Thank you Marlene! Am so glad you enjoyed the story. I lose track of time in a library and could probably move in there for a few days! Hugs, Pat

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  7. I forgot to mention how sweet his cottage was too, and that statue!

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    1. Hey Gina! Yes, I would love to move that little cottage to my garden! Pat

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  8. What a marvelous find!! This is a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it.

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  9. How wonderful that you were fortunate to get "Brilliants From Eugene Fields. it is so exciting when you find a special book. Thank you for sharing this post. Looking forward to future posts concerning finding special books.
    Marilyn

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    1. Oh Marilyn, I'm so glad to hear from you and know you "get it." I wrote another post about old books you might enjoy. Here's the link: http://bringingfrenchcountryhome.blogspot.com/2016/03/old-books-tell-more-than-story.html or you can just type in books in the search box on my blog. Hugs, Pat

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  10. Just loved this post Pat.

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  11. Thank you for sharing this sweet, sweet story.

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  12. Hi Sis, I loved this blog. I also loved Gina's comment. How interesting the story behind it is. Have we walked past that little house where he used to live? Knowing how you love old books I am so glad that you found this one.

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    1. Thanks Jan!! I thought you might like this one. I don't think we saw the cottage before but it's on the list now. It's been so fun reading all the comments on this post and knowing there are other people out there who appreciate books like we do. Hugs, Pat

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  13. What an interesting story about Mr. Field. That little book was quite a find for you.
    By the way, I've read Conclave. Great book, I thought.

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    1. Thank you! I loved Conclave. Who knew the Vatican had so much politicking! Do you think it was all true? Pat

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  14. Wynken, Blynken and Nod. I'm sure I would have loved them as a child had I known of them. In Australia, their equivalent would probably have been May Gibbs' Gumnut Babies.

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    1. Hi Catherine! I wasn't familiar with the threesome either until fairly recently but am sure I would have gotten lost in their adventures. Hugs, Pat

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  15. What a great story and how nice you found this little book. Visiting you from Botanc Bleu.

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    1. Thank you for visiting. I hope you come back soon. Pat

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  16. My mom used to call it a Dutch lullaby. Enjoyed reading your post and a wonderful treasure you have found.

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  17. What a delightful post! I had to jump up and check my shelf of little books to see if I had the 'Brilliants by Eugene Field', I didn't but do have others and they are in tattered shape.

    How wonderful for you to have found such interesting info about this author.

    Have a lovely February ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Thank you Lorraine! Your comments always make me smile (and laugh!). So glad you enjoyed this post. Hope you have a great week. Pat

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  18. I worked in a college library where we had a Preschool-Education program, and the Eugene field books were still popular even in the 60-70's. Love this post, so informative and beautiful pictures, Sandi

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    1. Thank you Sandi! I enjoyed your comments and was happy to hear his books were still popular in the 70s. Pat

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  19. Ohhh your Eugene Field book, just got me where it counts. I love that you kept it. So many people would toss it.

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  20. Thank you Christine! I love that you love that I kept it! Not too much gets tossed around my house. Pat

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  21. I've always loved libraries and your small neighborhood library is delightful.

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    1. Thanks Carol! Maybe it's because I spent many hours in my library reading Nancy Drew books as a child that I still love small libraries. Did you read her adventures too? Pat

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  22. I did not recognize his name, but I loved that poem of Wynken, Blynken, and Nod! I have a couple of similar little books that I picked up at an estate sale. I need to go see if they are by him. If you ask me, small libraries are the best! Thanks for sharing with SYC.
    hugs,
    Jann

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    1. Thanks Jann! Estate sales are often the best source for old books; they're so pricey in antique stores. Hope you have a great weekend. Pat

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  23. What a precious book and a great story. Thanks for sharing at Monday Social.

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  24. What a wonderful book to find and lovely story about it! It is nice your area library is named after Field. I will have to look for the park House and statue the next time I go to Denver. My area of Brooklyn, where I was born, had a long Dutch history, as they were early settlers in the 1600's. I was familiar with this poem from childhood. My local library in Littleton is named Columbine--no local history there!

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    1. Hi Pat! Great to hear from you and so glad you enjoyed this story. The park house and statue are on the east side of the park about in the middle. I haven't been to your library but have been to Columbine park where Old Glory used to be held. I miss it. Have a good weekend, Pat

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  25. What an interesting post! I love to read as well. No e-books for me either. I like the feel of a book in my hands. The Field cottage is adorable and your book is very special! What a lot of history you enjoy there in Denver. I must mention this to my son also. Have a fabulous weekend, my friend.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

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    1. Hi Sandi! Thanks for your sweet comments. I've never read an e-book; call me old-fashioned I guess. I'm with you. You can't beat holding a book in your hands. I hope you're doing well my friend. Hugs, Pat

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  26. Pat,
    I loved hearing all the connections to your local library. Fascinating connections among all the people...

    Judith

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    1. Thanks Judith! You're right. You never know who you might discover in a library! Pat

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  27. How interesting about your library's history. That first shot of your mantel is very pretty. Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home.

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    1. Thank you Sherry! We have so many historic buildings in Denver; makes me want to learn more about who lived there. Hope you have a great week. Pat

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  28. Wow, what a treasure! I love vintage books and even better finding a story behind the treasure!

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    1. Thanks! You're so right. Vintage books plus a story can't be beat! Pat

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  29. I was familiar with Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, but would never have remembered the author. Such fascinating history, Pat, right in your own backyard. Thanks so much for sharing your lovely post with us at Vintage Charm :)

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    1. Thank you Diana! Now, I wonder what else is in my own backyard! Glad you liked this post. Pat

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  30. I've featured you over at Vintage Charm Party #70! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story! xoKathleen

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