A Blue State of Mind

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Location: The Western U.S, United States

I spent 48 years caring about what people thought of me. I'm not spending the rest of my life caring about that anymore!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Fond Memory

When I was in grade school I loved to read. Anything my chubby brown hands could get a hold of to read, I'd read. Because of my high reading and language scores I was selected to help out in the library sorting books, tidying up the place and helping the other students check out books. The librarian (I never thought I'd forget her name) was very kind to me. I don't know if it was because I was painfully shy or if because she could pretty much give me limited supervision and the chores would get done w/o a lot of follow up on her part.

I remember her as being a tall, slim, model-like blonde who was always stylish in dress and had perfect hair. She and the music teacher (never thought I'd forget his name either. See what age and time does to you?) were good friends and often took their lunches together in her office located in the back of the library.

The music teacher was an attractive, soft=spoken black man who always wore neckties and jackets, even during music class. I thought he was one of the handsomest men I'd ever seen and because he was a writer and musician, and single, he should meet my single aunt and marry her. When I told my mother my ideas of matchmaking Minnie to the music teacher, I remember her thinking that was one of the funniest things I had ever told her. My aunt Minnie shared Momma's view but she was a lot nicer in bursting my bubble than Momma.

At the end of the school year I was tasked with helping the librarian take inventory of every book in the library. The school was to receive a new set of Encyclopedia Britannica and the old set discarded. When the librarian (why can't I remember her name?) asked if I'd like to have the old set of encyclopedias I was elated!

I don't know exactly how the books made it to the house but I remember my parents let me store them, all in a row, on a rickety wooden bookshelf that sat prominently in our living room for everyone to see. And you know what? My sister and I tried to read every one of those books! A lifetime before the Internet where we can Google or Yahoo or Bing every concept known to man, my family had a set of encyclopedias and we were proud to have them!

I would spend hours reading through those books, learning about everything from astronomy to zoology, Presidents of the U.S., the Civil War, and everything in between.

Last week while looking for papers, I found two of those encyclopedias. I had managed to keep them somehow, all these years. I've sat them aside and may glance through them just to compare the listings to today's language and verbiage. Maybe I'll do it on a rainy day or maybe I'll read them to Butterfly. I don't know why I'm saving them, all that info is a mouse click away.

Maybe I'm saving them to remember how special I felt lining them up on that rickety bookshelf, or how we had to take special care to dust them and not damage them. Whatever the reason, they're right over there, another fond memory of days gone.


Blogger Dave said...

You were ahead of me - we only had World Book, which came at the time with its own small bookcase.

August 27, 2009 7:08 AM  
Blogger Jeni said...

Boy, Debo -you and I sure do have a lot in common! I was always a voracious reader all through my school years. My 2nd grade teacher told me -long after I had passed through her grade -that I was the only student she ever had in all her many years of teaching, who brought the "Reader's Digest" to school and who could actually read from it! When I was about 9-10 years old, my Mom "invested" in a set of World Book Encyclopedias and I did make darned good use of them during the rest of my school days. Sadly, when my kids came along, somehow or other, some of the volumes went missing so I no longer have a complete set here. Can't figure out how that happened because my kids tended to avoid ANYTHING that remotely might have helped them in their school work or involved what they considered to be that dirty, four letter word -"WORK." One of my aunts though, every time she and my uncle came home for a visit, would take out a volume of the encyclopedia and begin to read it -just for the sheer pleasure of reading and learning something more.
Oh, and by the time I was in 5th and 6th grades, I held the record each year for having read the most books than any of my classmates! Until last spring (2008, that is) I was still a big fan of reading and frequently added more and more books to the collection here but haven't been into that as much now since I rediscovered the embroidery and knitting stuff, ya know!

August 27, 2009 8:26 AM  
Blogger Dr Jenn said...

I too spent many hours browsing the Encyclopedia and have actually considered asking Doc if we can't get a set for the house. My favorite was always Encyclopedia Britannica and I wonder if that wasn't because it was what we had when we were growing up My Uncle Bill had a full set and got a yearly update book! I think I read the entire set and can remember in Jr High School I wrote a paper and referenced the EB and had credit taken off because I had used an opinion source. I had asked about this and was instructed to see the librarian (mrs Hester or was she the art teacher) anyway she showed me three different Encyclopedia's on the same subject and they all read with a different slant. In my last round of college classes we were not allowed to cite Encyclopedia's either. *SIGH*

August 28, 2009 3:18 AM  
Blogger dr sardonicus said...

That was how I acquired a lot of my random learning when I was a kid, too - though I can't say that I ever read through a whole volume! We have the internets now, and they fit in the palm of your hand no less. Although I have to agree that there's a certain amount of romance in being able to hold all that information ion your hands, the old-fashioned way.

August 28, 2009 5:14 PM  
Blogger fermicat said...

I used to enjoy just wandering through an encyclopedia volume when I was a kid. Flip through and see what strikes you. I have sometimes wondered what became of all the encyclopedias that are obsolete.

August 30, 2009 8:11 PM  
Blogger Dr Jenn said...

donated to school libraries. donated to third world countries. I know a lot of encyclopedia companies will buy old volumes back if your buying a new set.

September 01, 2009 2:03 PM  

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