Posted tagged ‘library’

“What in the world would we do without our libraries?”

September 11, 2018

I am a character in a science fiction novel having to adjust to a wet, sunless world, and I am not adjusting well. It is a cloudy, hot and humid day already in the 70’s. It rained this morning.

A library, any library, is a favorite place. When I was a kid, I walked uptown to the library once a week in the summer and every couple of weeks in the winter. The library always felt cool in the summer even without air conditioning. The chairs and tables were wooden. They were captain’s chairs, the ones with spindles in the back and wooden arm rests. The shelves were up high and down low. The mysteries and science fiction books were on high shelves. It took a while until I was tall enough to reach the top shelves.

The library at my college was new. It had smoking rooms on each floor. Serious students stayed on the bottom floor where it was quiet. My friends and I went to the top most floor and took over tables in the corner. We weren’t quiet. During exam times, I sat at an individual carrel. I spent many afternoons and evenings at that library but seldom for reading, almost always for studying.

In Bolgatanga, the library was also brand new. The architect was J Max Bond Jr who lived in Ghana for a while in the 60’s. The library was designed with an umbrella shaped roof to keep the building well ventilated and cool, a necessity in Bolga. I was a frequent visitor to the library. Books were essential to me. I had so much down time I needed something to fill the void. I coached volley ball and taught adult ed in town, but it wasn’t enough. I had a Peace Corps book locker, but I went through that in a short time. The library was a godsend.

My local library was an old captain’s house. It’s tiny, but I never have difficulty finding books to read. I go every couple of weeks to browse the shelves. I used to buy new books as soon as a favorite author published one, but now I borrow though I haven’t completely given up buying. I sometimes read all day. At night I’ll read until 2 or 3 in the morning. The time passes so quickly I am aways surprised at how late it is.

Right now I am still reading the Patterson/Clinton book and have two more in the wings. Today is a perfect day to read.

In case you were wondering, I did my laundry yesterday.

“Killing time is not an easy job.”

January 29, 2018

The sun is on vacation. Every day is dark and cloudy.

The sides of the street were wet this morning so it must have rained during the night. It is also going to rain this afternoon, and later the rain will be replaced by a few stray snowflakes. Tomorrow has the same forecast. A total of one to two inches is expected.

The world is catching up with me. I prefer cocooning, but sometimes I have no choice but to go out. Today I have errands, those mundane little chores which I generally eschew. Actually, I have a few days worth of errands. Little stickies are all over the house reminding me what I need, and the stickies have no room to grow. I’d much rather rummage through the cabinets and the freezer than go grocery shopping, but I need to get some cat food Maddie might eat. I cooked the last of the chicken for her this morning, and I could also buy a few groceries for me, quick foods which take little effort to cook. I need to go to the hardware store for some strange round light bulbs for the upstair’s hall light and I want nails for hanging pictures. The last stop will be the library to return and pick up books. I can’t successfully cocoon without books, without diversions to help pass the time.

I have been going to bed late, usually no earlier than two. It’s just a weird phase. I read, watch TV or play around on the computer. I’ve found the late night commercials are the worst. I figure stations think they have a captured audience so they throw on all the locally produced ads and the infomercials. Many of these late ads tout the talents of local attorneys who guarantee a pay day or you owe them nothing. Last night I saw two of these commercials, over and over. The stars of each were the attorneys themselves. In one, the attorney wore a suit and a cowboy hat, a really big cowboy hat. In this part of the country, cowboys are rare, practically nonexistent, so I wondered why the hat. I was speculating about it so much I never did hear the commercial. I figured the attorney was trying to be folksy or maybe he was thinking metaphor and hoped we’d jump to him corralling the bad guys. After all, the hat was white. But then again, I might just be giving him far too much credit. The second attorney had fake hair, a rug which looked a bit like a helmet. He sat at his desk, looked right into the camera and was heartfelt. He had clients give testimony to his skills and talents. My favorite client was an old lady who waxed eloquently about her experiences with the firm. She said they were more than attorneys. They were human beings. I’m still laughing.

“Morning is the dream renewed, the heart refreshed, earth’s forgiveness painted in the colors of the dawn.”

August 28, 2017

I love these cool and sunny mornings. When I take Gracie out, I sit on the shaded back steps for a while until I get cold or until I can smell the coffee.

There is something wonderful about mornings. The whole day is in front of me. I can do what I please and seldom have expectations as to what the day might bring. I take everything as it comes. Sometimes I have lists, but they are more like guidelines. If I don’t want to do anything, I don’t. There’s always tomorrow.

My morning rituals take about 5 minutes to complete before I can sit and drink my coffee, also a ritual I suppose. They are the only parts of the day which never change. I take Gracie out and then feed her and Maddie breakfast. The two patiently wait knowing what’s coming. After breakfast each gets a treat. Maddie’s patience is usually gone by then, and she meows at me while Gracie just sits waiting. Satisfied, the two then take their first naps of the day.

When I was a kid, I was seldom home on a summer day. I’d go to the playground or  roam around on my bike. My mother never really knew where I was at any given time,  but she didn’t worry. No mothers worried back then. Our world was small, confined mostly to the neighborhood, the school and church and to the main square of our town where the library, the movie theater and the stores were. Nothing bad ever happened when I was a kid.

My mother taught us not to talk to strangers. I figure she was just hedging her bets. My town didn’t have strangers. I think my father knew everybody. He and my mother had lived there since before high school, before they’d met each other. I was simply George’s oldest, and people would stop me and say hello and tell me to say hello to my mother or father or both.

I hitchhiked when I was a senior in high school and when I was in college. I also hitched when I was in Ghana which was a quicker way to get home than to wait for the lorry to fill. Never did I think of my mother and her admonition about strangers. I just wanted to get from one place to another. Nothing ever happened. I never even felt threatened. That’s the way it was back then.

“The family is always the family but during vacations it is an extended family and that is exhausting.”

July 15, 2017

They’d be cornToday is another dreary day, cloudy and damp. Movie night is postponed as it may rain and the deck is still wet from the rain yesterday. Tomorrow night we’ll be watching Gunga Din and munching appies and assorted movie candy. We pause for bathroom breaks.

My old MAC is totally defunct. It needs a new fan, a new battery and a new hard drive. May it rest in peace.

The house next door is rented this week. A car is in the driveway, and I can hear their voices. They have a kid or two.

I went to the library this morning. Traffic was bumper to bumper even on the back roads. I dread the rest of my errands as I have to go on main roads. Beaches are empty on days like today so tourists take to the main roads to find something to do and souvenirs to buy.

We never came to the cape when I was a kid. If we were going away, we went north. My father’s friend had a place in Ogunquit, Maine. It was a tiny cottage in a row of side by side tiny cottages. There was a small kitchen with a table and chairs, and there were beds, lots of built-in beds. We never slept one to a bed as there were too many of us. In one room were two sets of three bunks. It was like a couchette on a train.

The Maine water was so cold only my father went swimming. He used to body surf. We’d go at low tide and try to catch the small swift fish in the tidal pools. We’d walk the dunes. I remember my horror at seeing naked people sunbathing among those dunes. Meals were mostly catch as catch can except for dinner which was usually hot dogs or burgers on the grill. They’d be corn on the cob and sometimes potato salad. The informality of the meals was part of the vacation.

When I reached my mid-teens, the last thing I wanted was a family vacation in close quarters with nothing for anyone my age to do. My father had to threaten me with dire consequences if I continued moaning and complaining. I used to pout with all the teenage angst I could muster.

The last family vacation I remember was the one to Niagara Falls. I was sixteen that summer. Woolworth’s was a summer away.

“Mosquitoes, how wonderful! No one puts them in cages or makes pets out of them.”

July 1, 2017

I am late again. This time I can’t blame my computer. It is my fault. It was close to 10:30 when I woke up then I had two papers to read and a couple of cups of coffee to drink before I could face the day. Last night I was restless and woke up several times. Gracie was the sleep disruptor twice, the first at 3:30. When we went outside, it was so dark I had to feel with my foot to figure out where we were: the grass or the driveway. Once back inside, I had to read a while before I could get back to sleep, back to my restless sleep. It’s no wonder I’m tired.

Today’s weather is like yesterday’s but with a breeze instead of a wind. The leaves at the end of the branches are waving but only slightly. I don’t hear my chimes.

Summer has officially started. The house next door has its first renters of the season. I heard them this morning. They weren’t loud but the open window a bit above the couch where I sleep faces their small deck and slider. I haven’t figured out how many are there yet, but I think there is only a single car.

My house is dark though the clouds are light-colored, not like storm clouds. I can feel the humidity. I’ve nothing planned for today but I might switch out the spawn eaten lights for the new ones I have. The spawns prefer red for chewing.

We didn’t have many organized summer activities when I was a kid. The playground under the trees on the field at the end of my street was about the only close place to spend a summer day. The pool was another spot, but it was about as far away from my house as you could get and still be in my town. Sometimes we’d bike ride to a pond in the next town and go fishing. The library was another place to spend some time before leaving with an armful of books. Other times we didn’t do anything but stay around the house.

My mother kept the living room dark. All the shades were down. She believed this was the best way to keep the house cool. We didn’t have AC back then, and we didn’t have any fans. Upstairs was a hot box. It took a while to fall asleep.

My father had an obsession about mosquitos. He always yelled for us to close the outside doors quickly; somehow, though, that didn’t work. My father hunted down mosquitos.  They were his prey. He had a rolled-up newspaper as his weapon of choice. He’d jump on beds to whack the mosquitos on the ceilings. He woke us up a lot when the beds rocked as he walked across the mattress swatting bugs. All the ceilings had smashed bug marks and a few splotches of blood. My father announced each kill, each triumph. He was a mighty hunter.

“I think insomnia is a sign that a person is interesting.”

January 20, 2017

The clock just struck one. I’m not even tired. I went up and down the TV dial and checked out Netflix, but I didn’t find anything I wanted to watch. I tried to read, but I just couldn’t settle down and pay attention. Gracie and Maddie had slept most of the night away, but Gracie just woke up, had a snack and a drink of water then climbed back on the couch to go back to sleep. In about two minutes she was snoring. I envy her.

The weather stayed lovely all day. It hit 43˚. Gracie and I did our errands. We went to the dump, and she got her nails cut at the vets then we took a ride. Gracie liked the window down.

When we got home, the alien took over my body again. The kitchen is gleaming. This sudden spurt of housecleaning has to end.

When I was a kid, I read all of the time. I visited the library just about every week in the summer and every couple of weeks in the winter. I can close my eyes and still picture the children’s side of the library. The librarian sat behind a round counter made of wood set in the middle of the room across from the door. The shelves filled with mysteries were against the wall behind her. The tables and chairs were all wooden. The chairs were spindlebacks though I didn’t know back then that’s what the style was called. Some of the chairs had arms. The tables were different lengths. I’d sit for a bit and look through books to decide which ones I wanted to read. When I was ready, I’d bring the books to the librarian who would stamp the lined sheet in the back with the due date.

I loved mysteries. My favorite detectives were Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden. The library didn’t have those books, but I’d use my fifty cent allowance to buy the Trixie Belden books and just about every birthday and Christmas I’d be given new Nancy Drews. I loved that they were girls solving mysteries. Nancy drove a roadster. I had to look up what kind of a car a roadster was. Trixie was much younger, closer to my age. I always envied their sleuthing. I would have loved stumbling on a mystery.

Well, I finally settled on a Netflix film about conspiracies. Hitler and Eva were replaced by doubles who were shot. The two of them were then spirited out of the country. Now I’m going to find out what really happened to Nazi gold.  This program was a great choice. I’m getting sleepy from watching it.

“I’m flying… / Look at me, / Way up high, / Suddenly, / Here am I, / I’m flying.”

July 9, 2016

Today is another cold, damp, overcast day. I have shut all my windows, and I’m about to go get my sweatshirt. Rain is predicted for the afternoon. This is the sort of day which makes an afternoon nap sound inviting. I’m already tired thinking about it.

Peapod came this morning. I was told the delivery would arrive between 7:30 and 9:30. He knocked on my door just before 7:30. Luckily I was awake. The larder is full again.

Last night I saw a wonderful production of The Music Man at the Cape Playhouse which is starting its 90th year of continuous entertainment. I have been going there at least 35 years. I remember when every play was sold out. That’s not the case anymore. I’m thinking that live productions don’t appeal to the Netflix, Amazon Streaming, YouTube generation as I see so few of them at the Playhouse, but for the first time in a while there were several kids last night. I was glad they were being introduced to a live performance. None of the ones near me looked bored. That’s a good sign.

The library in my town had records you could borrow. I remember bringing home Camelot and playing it so many times I memorized most of the songs. A live version of Peter Pan with Mary Martin played on television when I was a kid. It was wonderful. My mother bought the records of the musical for us. They were 45’s. We’d load them on the middle piece you put on the hifi so we could pile three or four 45’s at once. I still remember most of the words to all the songs. My sister took my niece when she was young to a revival of Peter Pan. She loved it as much as we had only she was lucky to see it in person. She got to watch Peter fly. I never thought it strange that Peter Pan was always played by a woman when it was staged. My niece saw Cathy Rigby, but for me, Peter Pan is always Mary Martin.

I have flowers needing to be planted in pots and the dead flowers on my front step need to be replaced. Today seems the perfect day to do outside work, but I’m going to have to force myself to be motivated. Being cozy and warm inside is just so appealing.

“To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.”

April 25, 2016

The day started grey but it is now sunny, not bright but sunny. It is also noisy with birds singing and calling. Monday always seems quiet to me. It’s the day to recuperate from the weekend and all the errands and chores and evenings with friends. I spent the morning with my neighbor. We chatted in English to improve her skills. The have/has problem is the one she can’t seem to shake. I explain it. She thinks about it, repeats it a few times, then a bit later says she have when telling me a story. I want to bang my head on the table. Maybe she’ll connect my head banging with has.

When I was a kid, it was easy to be happy. I had everything I wanted. I had a bike, ice skates, regular skates and a sled. The library was a good walk away but worth the walk. It was filled with books so I never wanted for something to read. I liked school so going every day was no big deal. I loved learning new things. My friends were neighborhood friends so we saw each other even day walking to and from school and on Saturdays for whatever we decided to do. I think it was when I was a teenager that I started to want more.

Clothes became important when I was older. We all wanted to look alike without looking alike. It was a strange conundrum. Transistor radios were a must, the smaller the better. Saddle shoes were in for a while, and I still have a pair of them. Maybe I ought to wear them. My Easter bonnet was a hit so maybe the shoes will be too. Back then only white sneakers would do. We wanted more. Discontentment replaced happiness. Envy was big.

I went through a few more transitions. One of my favorites was my overalls-flannel shirt phase. I wore them with high tops, pink high tops. Individuality had become more important.

I think the Peace Corps made me brave. I was living in a far different culture where I had to do most things on my own including traveling. I learned to be self-sufficient and a bit daring. When I told my family I was going to Morocco by myself, they chatted among themselves and were quite nervous. They even designated my brother-in-law Rod as the rescue person should I break a leg or need saving for some reason. They told me this when I got home. I thought it was pretty funny. I think, though, I should be thankful for a family with emergency back-ups plans for me when I travel. You never know!

You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

March 28, 2016

The story connected with today is a long one. It’s a bit boring but not because of length. It just is. I’ll start at the beginning as I figure that’s where everything starts. I had my annual physical today. My doctor is okay, not spectacular but okay. He had on a nice shirt for which I complimented him. His wife bought it. That was the pleasantry. He then went through the blood tests with me and decided I was relatively healthy for my age. He actually said that last part. He also said something about people of my generation. I ignored that. He said I needed to exercise more to lose weight. I explained as I do every time I see him that my back prevents that. I walk then stop then walk then stop. By then the distance I’ve walked can be easily measure in yards. I told him I take a handful of Aleve when my back is bad. Not a good thing he said. It will affect my kidneys. We then talked about my kidneys. It was an enthralling saga. He asked if I would be averse to a narcotic for pain. Silly question. He also decided I’ll have another MRI and go back to see the surgeon who did my last operation. He said to come back in two weeks. That was it I was done.

The library was next. Leave three books, get three more. I chatted a bit with the librarian then went back out into the pouring rain. I haven’t mentioned the rain before. It was pouring, a deluge, raining cats and dogs, torrential and relentless. I went in and out all day and never really dried.

My next stop was the pharmacy. I waited for prescriptions to be filled. The lady beside was wearing blue Converse sneakers with white laces. I told her I really liked her sneakers. We had a conversation about how we all wore them as kids. She has another in grey. I told her I had pink and purple high tops. She loved it. I got my prescriptions and went back into the rain, the torrential rain. My next stop was to have blood drawn. I just had that done Thursday but had to have it done again after a change in dosage. By then it was after two. I was hungry. I decided on Chinese food.

I went and bought my lunch to eat at home. It was tasty. After eating I decided I needed a nap. I slept until 5:15 so here I am.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about Easter. I was quite a hit.

“In my world there would be as many public libraries as there are Starbucks.”

June 9, 2015

Dreary is the perfect adjective to describe today. A sunless sky and a gusty wind make it chilly so long sleeves are the dress of the day. Intermittent showers are predicted. I won’t complain. We still need rain.

Earlier I had my monthly library board meeting which never takes more than an hour. We are an amiable group usually voting yes to any requests. Two members are ninety and one other is in her eighties. I always feel young.

When I was a kid, talking in the library was frowned upon. The librarian would shush us and put her finger to her lips to tell us to be quiet. We whispered but never softly enough. Even in the children’s section the librarian created a sense of foreboding. I never asked her for anything, and she never volunteered. Her circulation desk was round which I figured was the rule as every circulation desk I ever saw was round: hence, the name I suppose. The desk was across from the door and there the librarian sat to check books in and out. Those were the days of hand held stamps and book cards on which you wrote your name. I remember watching her carefully place the stamp in the due date box on the slip at the back of the book. She wanted to make sure the date was straight and in the middle of the small box. That librarian looked like she needed the stamp straight. Everything about her was perfect from the bun in her hair to the thick nylons and the black, laced shoes. The only words she ever spoke to me were, “Did you find what you wanted?” I mumbled yes every time but wondered what a no would have brought.

Libraries today are places where you feel welcome and where you can even talk without a single shush in your direction. I haven’t seen a bun on any librarian in years. The librarian in my library doesn’t wear a flowered dress or clunky black heels. She dresses for comfort because that’s the feeling she engenders in her library. She offers help and suggestions. Today I dropped off three books and picked up three more.

I have always loved libraries even when I got shushed.