When I woke up and glanced across my cluttered room to the calendar, I nearly choked on surprise. January 6th, 2010!? Of course the weeks always seem to whiz by for a busy student, but realizing that today was my first internship of the New Year made me want to swoon like a black and white movie actress. As well as bringing a fresh start and warm greetings, the New Year also presents a special task to the Thurber House team; the ol’ Thurber guest count. Some might assume it would be boring to sift through stacks and stacks of sign-in sheets from 2009, all the while tallying how many visitors hail from where but the job was much more entertaining than expected. I know from experience, however, that such a job is not only fun (thanks to the occasional pranksters who signed in as “Michael Jakcson’s ghost” or “The Boss”), but is a significant way to demonstrate the international fame and attraction of “Columbus’ best kept secret”.
This year, people journeyed from 33 different states and 10 different countries to tour Thurber House. It was no shock to discover the 678 Ohio visitors that had signed in, but visitors from Norway, South Africa, and Kazakhstan? Those weren’t exactly locations that I imagined Thurber fans voyaging from. There was even a visitor from the Kyrgyz Republic, a country I had never heard of until today. (Thank you, Google.) As it turns out, it’s a pretty great feeling to be associated with something that is noteworthy on such an international level. The diverse amount of language, culture, and age-range that travels through Thurber House’s door in a year is simply amazing.
This is how I came to be smacked in the face with cold irony: Thurber House is a secret, but only in its home city. It’s clearly a well-known institution worldwide, but, somehow, people living five miles away have no idea it exists. This is truly unfortunate, as Thurber House is a great place, full of culture, rich comedy, and enticing ghost conspiracies. Anyone who visits is sure to leave with a new appreciation for Mr. James Thurber and the creative lifestyle he lived, as well as inspiration for their own artistic masterpieces. Thurber House may be a foreign establishment to many Ohioans, but to those who do know of it, it serves not as “Columbus’ secret”, but as Columbus’ own hidden treasure.
Columbus Alternative High School