“I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”

Right now the day is lovely, breezy and cool at 77°, but there is a thunder and lightning storm advisory for this afternoon and tonight with damaging winds expected. I’ll be lowering my umbrellas before the wind takes them, and they become extras for The Wizard of Oz. Summer storms are often mighty.

This is one of my what in the heck can I talk about days when my muses are taking care of their own business at my expense. Tonight I am meeting my nephew for dinner. We’re doing Mexican. I have a play on Wednesday, Sherlock Holmes, and that’s it for the week. I do need to go to the library as I am out of books, and that is dire.

When I was a kid, libraries were sanctuaries like churches. Whispering quietly was all that was allowed or is that aloud?  Shushing was what we often heard from the librarian who also believed that the gesture of a finger on her lips had to follow shushing. I never understood why the library had to be quiet. Reading a book so transfixed me that I never heard anything, even my mother yelling for me who swore I was ignoring her on purpose, and I certainly wouldn’t have heard anybody whispering in the library.

The quiet rule sometimes had the opposite effect. When one of us laughed, we all did, and we couldn’t stop despite the shushing and the warnings. We were actually asked to leave the library a couple of times when I was kid. We thought it was so hysterically funny to be tossed out we always left laughing, out loud. I’m sure it displeased the dour librarian wearing the flowered dress, sensible shoes and a bun in her hair. For years, I thought all librarians had to wear that uniform.

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14 Comments on ““I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    Almost cold and rainy all day until now over here. But I don´t mind, these days are perfect for doing nothing after all 🙂

    I always went to the library alone, none of my friends seemed to love that place as much as I did, so being quiet sort of came natural 🙂 But I remember that they never shushed little children at my library, they could make as much noise as they liked to. But it was another thing with teenagers though 🙂 🙂

    Tomorrow I´ll go to work even if I have vacation at the moment. I´m the only one knowing how to paint a special thing and the last one I painted wasn´t as it should be even before I painted it 🙂 🙂 Naturally this will cost them a lot 🙂 After all, they are disrupting my vacation!

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      The rain just ended, and it is really humid. I have the air going in my bedroom and that should be enough, but this room feels so close from the humidity.

      The library always felt cool in summer, and I loved sitting there and reading. I used to walk there every week for new books. I don’t remember anyone coming with me either.

      Make them pay through the nose as we say here!

  2. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Sadly, I learned early on that the library was not the place to go for books. I was reading on my own when I was three. By the time I was in 4th grade, I was reading at high school level. My parent’s both read but we didn’t have a lot of kid books at home so I read what was around. The branch librarian would not let me read books that were above my grade level. Undoubtedly that was procedure but still, I got enough of 4th grade books in school so no need for me to use the library. I only went to the main library or the school libraries if I needed to do research on a project.

    I have a Kindle so my library is always available. Heaven would be if all the titles I want to read were available for it although my wallet is probably happy that they aren’t. 🙂 I used to think I would miss holding the book, smelling the paper and turning pages. No. It quickly became apparent to me that the best part of the book is the content. The Kindle lives in a nice hand-tooled leather cover that feels like a nice book. I guess I can say that all my books have matching custom leather binding. And they all fit in my handbag. 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      I had read just about every book in the children’s section, and they wouldn’t let me go to the adult section as I was too young. It was horrible, and I used my meager allowance to buy books. My school didn’t have a library so I read whatever I could find.

      I buy e-books for my iPad, but I also buy real books and go to the library. If they don’t have it, they can order any book through the CLAMS network so I am content.

      I still love holding a book.

      • Caryn Says:

        I hold the book and I flip the pages because that’s a pleasantly tactile thing to do and then I see if it’s available on Kindle. 🙂 When I’m reading a real book, I miss being able to adjust the font size and I find myself looking for the button that will bring up the dictionary entry for an unknown word. Technology has spoiled me. 🙂

  3. Clare Stevens Says:

    Christer, I like your idea for a cold, rainy day -perfect!
    When I was a kid, I could walk to our branch library which was okay but when I got the chance, we went to the main library, made of stone with wood floors, a reading room with window seats – a great place. Unfortunately, it was set on fire by a crazy person & what was left of the books were put in a make shift library in the basement. What a sad time that was. When the library was re-opened it was all chrome & tile. Also a sad time. My high school library was beautiful with windows looking out to the bay. The windows had some stained glass in them too. Nice.
    Love our little gingerbread library here. Lots of books for a small space. Happy reading everybody.

    • katry Says:

      That is horrible-the fire. Did they ever find out why he did it or was it just his craziness? My town library was also grand and old built with funds from Andrew Carnegie. It has since been enlarged, but I haven’t seen the new, now old, addition.

      My high school library was small and was eventually made into classrooms and an office when they built the addition onto DY.

  4. Zoey & Me Says:

    I loved the Library and know exactly what you mean. Librarians had a standard appearance dating back to the 1800’s me thinks. I dated one, Sarah Kendall, who went on to become a law professor at UVA. She knew what she wanted and went for it. She also came from a wealthy family. But I was “shushed” out the door upon reading something that made me laugh hysterically. That meant you checked out books but couldn’t use the facilities for a month. Nice memories today Kat.

    • katry Says:

      That description perfectly describes my high school librarian as well. My English classroom senior year had two doors, one in the front and the other in the back. I sat near the back one and on occasion would sneak out when the teacher wasn’t looking, and I’d go to the library right down the hall. When I’d get to the library, she’d ask if I had permission and I always said yes.

      I get perfectly the laughing!

  5. J.M. Heinrichs Says:

    … Grade 6, ten library cards stapled into one bundle, 350+ books; just the school library.


    • katry Says:

      Even to the bun in her hair!

      I wish my school had a library. I only had the one in town which had, for me, a limited number of books. It irked me when I couldn’t read the ones in the adult section as she claimed I wasn’t old enough. My God, I wondered, what books must they be harboring there I thought.

  6. Penny Says:

    A friend introduced me to your blog when you posted the OOOH I love my coffee black as I am one of the rare people who enjoy the taste of coffee. So today I decided to see what else you write about. Would it be random (my favorite), educational, witty — was it meant to be READ or was it that it just had to be WRITTEN?

    I love the sprinkler story, I also love boisterous storms and used to think one day I would live in a library.

    I’m sorry we don’t know each other but I am glad my friend Rick introduced me to your site. If it is okay, I may drop by now and then to see if the coffee is on and a conversation is brewing.

    Keep writing. It is wonderful.


    • katry Says:

      Hi Penny, and welcome to Coffee.

      You got me thinking about this blog, and I decided I write it because I need to write. All these memories revolve inside my head and I need to get them out, to keep them alive. It gives me joy to relive my childhood as it was joyful, mostly.

      Please drop by as often as you like. We’re here every day but Wednesday, and in August I’ll be away for a couple of weeks though I will try to post from an internet cafe a couple of times.

      Thanks for dropping by and saying hello!

  7. katry Says:

    I just won’t want to let my books go. I love the feel of them and the turning of the pages. I can see easily when the chapter ends and how much of the book I have left to read. I like e-books, but I love real ones.

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