ALMOST FIVE YEARS AGO, I began reading my pristine 1968 edition of The American People’s Encyclopedia. I bought it from a door-to-door salesman after I got my first full-time job at a newspaper in Prince George 51 years ago.
It seemed like a good idea at the time, one of those things every journalist needed. It was also a sort of rite of passage towards maturity, right up there with renting an apartment and buying my first car.
When I was a kid, our family had a set of Encyclopedia Canadiana that was my salvation for many a school essay. I think there was a set of encyclopedias in every living room in Canada. Maybe my American People’s made me less homesick.
Those incredibly heavy books in their red bindings were a major investment for a 24-year-old — several hundred dollars paid in monthly installments, but they sure looked good in the living room on shelves made from a few concrete building blocks and one by sixes.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.