I cannot believe how long I have been away from posting, but thought this week’s topic was a good stepping back in tool and I have really enjoyed the challenge.
As I contemplated this week’s theme of What did (do) I do for a living, my mind immediately answered, “You carried books”. Not exactly true for most of my was wages came from teaching, but definitely true of what I did in my life and all my life. So it is with fondness that I roam through memories of carrying books. Not necessarily, the joy of reading, but the pleasure of holding them tightly to my chest as I walked through my now so many days on earth.
Oh the wonder of being six and finally receiving that library card of my own. I remember walking to the library on Lake Street with my mother and carrying home a picture book or two. Even clearer, I remember the joy of walking the six blocks to the same library with friends from elementary school. I was never satisfied with one or two books. I would probably have taken home far more than the limited number of six ( a limit set by the elderly librarian who I always felt eyed me suspiciously, as if she knew I could not read that many books in two weeks and would not return them on time.)
And then there was the school library where in middle school, I discovered the dog stories of Albert Payson Terhune and carried them home, trudging thru the crisp leaves of fall, the drifting snows of winter, and the promise of the lilac-filled Spring. I also remember the feeling of despair when I wrote my one and only fan letter to Mr. Terhune. His publisher wrote back that he had died years earlier long before I had fallen in love with his stories. What a blow for a child who imagined she would become Mr. Terhune’s favorite pen pal and their exchange of letters would be plentiful and full of our mutual love for animals.
High School was also a time for book-hugging, but unfortunately also the time for boy-hugging and more than a tiny bit of rebellion. I remember my mother reading Gone with the Wind, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, and the delightful Cheaper by the Dozen. Of course, I was not about to read anything she read so it wasn’t until later that I found the joy of discovering we shared a love for the same kinds of stories. No, at that time, I read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Mandingo, and any other book that I could find that was on the Catholic Legion of Decency banned book-list. Not that I found many, they were seldom in libraries that I frequented and if so, I was never brazen enough to check them out for in my over active imagination, the librarian had the list memorized and was a devout Catholic ready to turn me into the local parish priest for a lecture on morality.
University and a green Harvard bag flashes into memory. Somehow books tossed into that bag and then the bag flung across the left shoulder were the ultimate sign of independence, vision, and anti-establishment in my little world from 1960 to 1964. I miss that bag, but soon after, I found myself carrying books close to my chest in school girl style as I carried my record book, my lesson plan book, and the bulky teacher editions of the various elementary curriculums. After 34 years, I was more than happy to put those books down and close the school door on a successful career
As a mother, I did as mine had done, and often made trips with my children to our local library. Read to them, listened to them read to me, and as the years progressed, made those annoying trips to middle or high school to find the forgotten book at the bottom of the locker needed for homework. To my joy, we became a family of avid readers and joked about never setting a book down because someone would pick it up and begin reading it. Having a child interested in reading a book (any book) was always satisfying and I took a quiet pride in our family rule. However, it did teach me to carry my book to the bathroom at times if I really wanted to finish it, before sharing.
As an old woman, I have let go of my books. My library has only a few books of sentimental value. I have embraced the Kindle and the I pad and hold them close to my heart, as I head out to my book club to discuss our latest read. The Kindle is of light weight but fills me with an awe of its ever-growing library and the many books I carry with me. I may not be building the muscle of the days when I toted lots of books, but I am blessed with the ability to enlarge the print and brighten the page. These are not small miracles when I think of those long walks to and from the library, the green Harvard bag, the well marked teacher’s editions, the dear to my heart books that no longer fill my office, but now dwell in my Kindle with neat bindings and orderly categories, and I swear “Bright Shiny Covers.” that beckon me to read or even re-read. What I did or do in life? I CARRIED AND STILL CARRY BOOKS !
Time now to visit other Loose Bloggers from the Consortium. They are listed on the right hand side of my blog under Writers Consortium. I am anxious to read their writings on this interesting subject and hope you will join me in this reading adventure.