View from the Carnegie - without railings

Friends of Lincoln library column
By: By Jane Tahti Special to The News Messenger
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 This is the fifth of a multipart series on the Carnegie Library. Note: Lincoln’s Carnegie Library is currently closed, due to budget cuts in the city of Lincoln’s General Fund.

We’ve all enjoyed looking at old photos of the Carnegie. We can see the raised border that edged the lawns. We can see the palm trees and the row of magnolias. We can see the big barn along the alley and the lopsided movie theater next door.

If you look carefully at those old photos, you’ll notice that there were no railings. None at all. My friend, Jacquelyn, and I witnessed an event that must have led to their installation

On the day of our eyewitness account, Jacquelyn and I were on our way to the Carnegie. We stopped across the street to get a drink from the newly-installed drinking fountain.

While we were drinking, we heard a strangled squawk and we looked up. A well-sized woman had lost her footing at the top of the library steps. Somehow, she managed to keep herself from plummeting down the stairs head first. Instead, she fell sideways across the top of the steps.

And then she began to roll.

The woman’s feet were toward us, her skirt rising higher and higher as she bounced down step after step after step.

We knew it wasn’t funny.

Bump! She might be hurt! Bump! She’s still going! Bump! She’s not stopping! She’s going faster!

We knew it wasn’t funny.

Finally, the poor woman reached the sidewalk. She had gained enough momentum that she slowly rolled on across the sidewalk until she tilted over the curb and thumped into the gutter.

We knew it wasn’t funny.

But it was just too much for us. We lost control.

This was a dangerous situation for us!

In those days, everyone walked everywhere. The sidewalks were busy with residents going to the bank, the pharmacy, the post office, the grocery store, and, yes, the Carnegie.

We knew everyone. They knew us. And they knew our parents!

A cluster of concerned individuals had rushed to the woman’s side. Miraculously, she sat up, stood up and pulled down her skirts.

By that time, we were mainly worried about ourselves. What if our neighbors saw us laughing? We hunkered down behind the drinking fountain, clinging to each other. There was no way to control our laughter, we could only hide. All thoughts of checking out books vanished. We had to keep out of sight.

Luckily, no one paid any attention to us and our parents were never shamed by reports of their daughters’ heartless laughter.

We never knew who the woman was.

But there are now railings going down each side of the granite steps, as well as one going straight down the middle.

As to the two heartless laughers, justice has been served.

It may have taken three quarters of a century but each of us has fallen down in the last few months. Neither of us rolled. We just thumped.

But worst of all, we weren’t even on our way to the Carnegie Library.

Because it’s closed.


Free events for kids at Twelve Bridges Library

Mother Goose on the Loose: 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. Thursdays

Storytime: 3:30 p.m. every Wednesday

Watch for free movie night at 5:30 p.m. April 20

Events are sponsored by Friends of the Lincoln Library. The Twelve Bridges Library is at 485 Twelve Bridges Drive.


This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. To reach the nonprofit Friends, write to Box 1177, Lincoln CA 95648, contact 434-2404, or Jane Tahti is the Friends of the Lincoln Library secretary.