Lottery Winnings and Museum Renovations

The Houston Memorial Library is located in Athens, Alabama.  The house was owned by George Houston, a former governor of the state of Alabama.  George Houston died in 1879,  and the Houston family donated the property to the city of Athens, with the stipulation that it be used as a library/museum.

However, over the years the building deteriorated and the city failed to complete the required maintenance to keep the facility functional.  In 2016, the city indefinitely closed the museum for renovations.

It breaks my heart to see this building in such a deplorable state.  All those historical documents, old books, and antiques are locked inside the building.  The building is full of items with educational and cultural value, but it’s all just rotting away.

If I won the lottery, I would buy that building and have it fully restored.  I would open it back up for the public to use and have activities for children, so they can learn to appreciate the value of museums and libraries.

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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

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I enjoy reading the book “Into the Wild” by Jon Krakauer.  I have read it about five or six times.  The book looks at the life of Chris McCandless and the front cover sums it up pretty well.

In April 1992, a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley.  His name was Christoper Johnson McCandless.  He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a life for himself.  Four month later, his decomposed body was found by a moose hunter… 

There are three things that really struck me about the life of Chris McCandless.

  1.  Unfortunately, his youthfulness worked against him.  He always felt invincible and believed things would somehow work out in the end.  He did some research, but was unprepared for what he was about to attempt.  His reckless abandonment would eventually be his downfall and cost him his life.  In my youth, I was also reckless and foolish.  However, I got lucky and I am still here today.
  2. I understand that desire for adventure.  I understand that desire to be your own person and to follow your own path.  I still seek after adventure today.  I still strive to be my own person and to follow my own path.
  3. Chris had a dream and he refused to give up on that dream.  I can respect that.  There are so many people walking around with their mind full of dreams, but they are afraid to step out of their comfort zone.  They will spend their life wondering what could have been.

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As a side note:

I bought this book from a thrift store many years ago and on the first page is a handwritten note, “Tony Hawk June ’98.”

In case you don’t know, Tony Hawk is a famous skateboarder, an X-Games champion, and has his own line of skateboards.

The inscription looks like Tony Hawk’s handwriting, so I am pretty sure he is the one that wrote the note and that he used to own this book.

I think that is really cool.