December 01, 2006

Rites of passage

I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I was a week away from my sixth birthday. It was about 4:00 on a warm but breezy Tuesday afternoon. I was so excited I hadn't bothered to stop to change out of my uniform -- just tied the bright blue sweater around my waist.

I walked up the stone steps of the neighborhood Lbrary, reached up to open the heavy wooden door, walked up to the pretty lady with pink lipstick that matched her sweater who smiled at me warmly. I handed her a copy of the Highlights magazine that proved my residence and announced I wanted to apply for a library card.

Thus began what's been a life-long relationship with the library system.

Over the years it provided plenty of fodder for elementary school book reports. A wealth of informaton for high school projects and college theses. Its spacious couch was a comfortable perch to curl up with a good story on a drizzly afternoon. And one of my favorite community service projects was spending Thursday afternoons with my sorority sisters reading to young children just learning how exciting the world inside a book could be. More recently, its newspaper and local history collections provide windows to the past when I pitch in to help with a genealogy puzzle John's trying to solve.

And recently, the memories recounted above came flooding back as I once again stood in line at the reference desk to turn in an application for a library card. There's something simply awe-inspiring about the potential the little plastic card represents -- new and exciting cultures and climates and cuisines to explore.

In 1970-something, I started my journey through the library's collection with the story of Laura Ingalls and her pioneer family. Over 30 years later, I opt to explore the world through Tony Bourdain's eyes. No... let's not reflect on what these facts say about me psychologically...

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wheresmymind said...

When my wife walks into the library, it's like "Norm" from cheers walking into the bar :)