I’m like most people in that I don’t appreciate the things that I have when I have them. This was especially true when I was a kid growing up in Weston, Massachusetts. I spent so much of the time being bored, not having the ability to see the many opportunities that surrounded me. Again, since I am wading into the murky past, there are all sorts of memories that I’ve twisted through time, though many memories are flat out moldy.
I spent a lot of time at the Weston Public Library. A stately old building that had the children’s section downstairs and the adult section upstairs. I think that there were two different cards, one for kids and one for adults. I think at a certain age, I graduated and was able to go upstairs, not that children weren’t allowed upstairs, but I don’t think they were encouraged.
Madelyn Wetmore was the Children’s librarian. She also was my mom’s best friend. Hanging out with Maddy was the closest way I could feel like I was hanging out with my mom.
Sometimes Maddy had me shelving books. I wasn’t especially quick because I would get distracted. The title of the book, cover design, or the name of the author would attract my attention. It’s hard to get books onto the shelf when I’m busy looking at possible prospects.
Weston is not a very large town. There were only eight thousand folks living there the year I was born, though ten years later there was a thirty-one percent increase. It was a good place to raise a child. I probably learned the philosophy that it takes a village to raise a child by watching Maddy interact with the kids that came into the library. She knew everyone’s name, but mostly she knew specifically what book to put into what hand. “Have I got the book for you!” It’s a big deal to be known, for her to know what each kid was interested in. Sometimes she was able to find me books that I didn’t even know I would be interested in.
But that’s what draws me to libraries and bookstores. Being able to graze the stacks of the library and letting luck lead the way. Recently I came across a book about a woman and her experience with a wild snail. The title had something to do with a Wild Snail Eating. The Sound of the Wild Snail Eating? Maybe…It was a fantastic treat that was so unexpected. Maybe it’s more like fate than luck.
I was drawn to the title because I just couldn’t imagine what kind of sound a snail would make while eating. I also have been finding a lot of snails on my house. Before reading the book, I had a tendency to throw them in a bucket of water, but after reading this book, the snail earned a lot of respect. I was amazed when I learned that a snail can come back from being crushed; it might take a few days or so, but they will rebuild their shell. That did give me some hope for the one I stepped on and only had to feel guilty for the ones that drowned.
As I work on being a stronger reading specialist, I know how important it is to get that right book in the right hands at the right time. I believe that a good book can make a difference.
Perhaps this is what draws me to the other end of reading, writing. My goal is to learn how to craft my words in such a way that not only does the reader learn something about me, the author, but that they learn something about their selves. I do know that I tend to learn something about myself almost every time I write.
Well, I had hoped to some how meander back to the original idea of appreciating the things that I have, but now I’ve got the itch to read.