“Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real.”
― Nora Ephron
The picture featured in today’s story is one of my hometown library.
I loved this little library.
Seeing it brings back one of the few memories I have of going somewhere with my mom. As I type I can feel her holding my hand as we start up the stairs on the day I was finally old enough for my very own library card.
To a little kid those stairs seemed to go on forever. I had to take a deep breath and plant my feet firmly in order to pull open the heavy entry way door. I learned you had to move fast so the wind didn’t catch the door and slam it shut on the back of your legs. I also became aware there was a definite learning curve when it came to getting through this door successfully on very windy days. You had to build up your momentum by running up the stairs and continue moving as fast as you could, using your free arm to build up power while pulling and swinging your way into the dark and cool foyer.
Seated in front of the door was the librarian–the keeper of the books. She had the ultimate power to okay the books checked out. I remember several times when she did not approve of my book selections. Then, as now, my genre of choice was murder mysteries. Being an avid reader, it didn’t take me long to read through the Nancy Drew series. After that, some of my book choices did not meet the approval of Madam Librarian.
Thinking I’d come up with a grand plan, the next time I visited, I told the librarian the book I wanted to take home was for my mom. She hesitated in stamping the due date on the inside cover of the book and looked up. I see her unblinking eyes looking at me through her glasses. The silence stretched into forever. I shuffle my feet. Finally, looking down and closing the ink pad, she slowly shakes her head. Her voice was low but firm. She told me she was sorry but my library card only worked for me. If my mom wanted to check out a book, she’d have to use her own card.
My love for books, libraries, and bookstores continues today. I love my e-readers but there is something special about holding a hardbound book in your hands after spending quiet time walking along and between shelves and shelves of books.
What a great gift, having time to spend a hot summer day with a chilled glass of wine, a dog or two at my feet while I enjoy the companionship of a great storytellers.
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”
― Alan Bennett, The History Boys
~Peace be with you, my friends.~