I had gone back and forth on whether to take a few extra days to visit Chapel Hill. My loving wife convinced me I should take the time to do so. My wife is a wise woman. It was an incredible experience.
I have corresponded with the staff at the Louis Wilson Round Library on campus several times in preparation for my upcoming book, Mayberry Firsts. When I decided to visit the library, I had to apply for designation as a researcher. The library has a limited selection of personal papers and photos deposited by Andy and his family, but they have all of his personal scripts for the show. Andy had them bound every year. They are his original scripts, complete with his handwritten notes and changes. They also include the occasional doodle or unrelated note or address as presumably the script was handy when he had to write something down at the time. The opportunity to hold Andy’s scripts in my hands and look through them was my main purpose in going to Chapel Hill.
I obtained a designation from the library as a researcher in advance and verified they would be open their normal hours of 9:00 to 5:00 even though it was summer.
On Sunday night, I explored a bit to get the lay of the land. They had recommended parking at a visitors’ parking garage by the stadium. It was about a mile to the library from that garage and it would have been about $17 a day to park there. I drove to the edge of campus closest to the library and found plentiful city parking garages there for $10 a day also about a mile from the library. Even better, as with all large campuses, there were many restaurants right across the street from campus. Now knowing where to head Monday morning, I went to the Air B&B I had booked in a lovely, wooded area just 10 minutes from campus.
I left early Monday morning as I wanted to be outside the door before it opened at 9:00. Parking could not have been easier since it was summer. As I crossed the street to walk the mile to the library, I was immediately struck by the beauty of the campus which was even more striking on foot than it had been the previous day when I drove through. I had been on the campus many years earlier for a couple of days while attending a speech tournament in college but had only vague memories of its beauty.
To say I was excited as I approached the library would be an understatement.