This is a photo of the top of my bookshelf, something I prize. It consists of a block with one of my favorite sayings, a copy of the original document of citizenship from my Prussian Great-Great-Great Grandpa Burbach, dated 1860, a mini jack-o-lantern lantern, some of my most prized books that are too large for regular shelves, a teddy bear piggy bank-turned book stopper that my sister painted and gifted to me years ago, and finally a Parrot rifle model that I bought at Antietam National Battlefield. Above it is a block that reads “Once upon a time..” that I found on an Alice in Wonderland (huge Alice fan) display at my favorite bookstore.
I wanted to make that block stand out because it fits the nature of a bookshelf so well. I find the saying “Once upon a time…” to be open-ended and imaginative. That very phrase can spark thousands of thoughts. Not only does this phrase initiate creative fictional thoughts, but also has implications of an unknown past. Once upon a time, a man named Nicholas Burbach became an American citizen; once upon a time, a great civil war shook the nation…the possibilities are endless.