I found that when I go into a place of history, it never hits me just where I am. I mean I know where I’m standing. The signs are telling me I’m in the home of one of the most famous and influential playwrights. The tour guide is telling me this. The itinerary is telling me this. The people on the trip with me are telling me this.
And still it just doesn’t seem believable.
How these scraps of past centuries have survived so long is beyond me. People haven’t turned a simple house into dust. Storms haven’t shattered it beyond repair. It’s standing and it’s strong.
There’s another home of his in London which hasn’t been as lucky, but the crippled walls are still growing from the grass. Amongst the busy streets and towering buildings, there is still this shred of history happily resting in the middle of it all.
It’s amazing how society will find something that speaks to them – something they deem crucial – and care for it generation after generation. If a simple playwright’s words didn’t affect or inspire or make some us laugh then this place would be nothing more than dust. I would have walked over a patch of grass where pieces of a man’s home who loved to write continued to decay under the dirt until it was entirely forgotten.
I feel lucky to have stepped into this place and to witness something so important to the arts. The same feeling emerges when I was standing in the same room where Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudiced or walking up the stairs of Charles Dicken’s home.
It feels unbelievable, but I’m incredibly grateful that these places are alive and still inspiring us.