The humid summers of my childhood seemed to go on forever …. obviously, I was busy making plans, painting my nails and calling all of my friends. Every now and then, I would walk into the air conditioned palace of the Mishawaka-Penn Public Library. The library offered adventures that were beyond my normal dreams….. to suburban Connecticut with the Stacey, Dawn, Claudia, Mary-Anne and Kristy…to the one room house on the prairie with Laura…. on the search for a ghost with a hotel manager named Baltimore Cleveland…. suspenseful adventures that elicited Goosebumps…. tales from the 1930’s version of Mississippi …… and the craziness from a fellow namesake!!! These stories filled my need for adventure outside of the very important summer schedule of a 5th, soon to be 6th grader.
Here I am, more than a decade later, reminiscing about summers gone by, about friends and family as I see friends’ Facebook posts about vacations, happy hours and the like. As I bask in the glory of not having any of those luxuries, I realize, once again, that my old pal the library will provide me with as many adventures as I desire!!!
Yes, that’s right! I am a proud member of Arlington Public Library- you may ask, what does that do for me across the great sea? I will tell you- it provides me with the technology of ebooks and audiobooks!!!!!!! This past year I have had tea with the estranged widow of Charles Dickens, been terrified for all 12 books with the girls of Rosewood, eavesdropped on a torrid affair with none other than the late John F. Kennedy, spent time with Ron Reagan as he reminisces about ole’ Ronald and even attempted some time with a lively gal named Ayn Rand (obviously, not all of these books, I would recommend). With technology at my side, I have grown and learned as I did through my childhood! It is especially interesting receiving more blatant and confused stares when I pull out a book to read while waiting for a taxi or at the post office here in Morocco. Reading is not a common hobby here, so I often look up to see an older women giving me the stink eye or little child gazing at me as though I am a museum piece. Although, I would not argue with a statue of myself reading – IF it were to promote literacy (would anyone ever really say no to a statue of themselves?) . I digress.
Never will I grimace at paying taxes for my lovely friend, the library! Never slight a place that promotes community literacy and best of all- good people watching. I once sat next to a man that proudly donned his birthday suit under his tattered trench coat! We have grown up together and although I miss the book sales and mysterious smell of borrowed books (you never quite know where they have been)… I will gladly accept a new and bright friendship from afar.
So people… get out there and enjoy the fresh air, summer heat, refreshing drinks and delicious grilled food! But don’t feel sorry for me! Oh no! Know that I am also in the sweltering heat, but basking in the humorous tales of David Sedaris, Bill Bryson and Ellen Degeneres.