I believe I was about eight when I discovered the Public Library. I actually had only just learned to read for myself without anyone’s help and I loved reading. It could take me places in my mind I could never go physically. Books taught me so much and they became my constant companion.
The first time I went to the library, I met Mrs. Brown. I thought Mrs. Brown was pretty. She had caramel colored skin and wore her hair pulled back in a tight bun at the nape of her neck. She was very warm and friendly. I remember she smiled at me and seemed genuinely happy because I was so interested in reading.
Mrs. Brown told me I would need a library card to check out any books and my mother would need to fill the application out for me. When I returned with the completed application, I receive my card the same day and I would be allowed to check out a book.
My home was about two miles from the library, so I asked Mrs. Brown if I could read a book first before going back home. I was afraid my mother might not let me return that day and I wanted so bad to read one of the many books in the children’s section. I don’t remember which book I read, only that I was in another world and I had to read more.
After I read the book, I returned home with the application and asked my mother to please fill it out for me so I could get free books to read. It must have been summertime because I was out of school, the sun was still high in the sky and it was more than a little warm.
As soon as my mother completed filling out the form, I returned the application the same day to the library and gave it to Mrs. Brown. I think she was more excited to see me come back than I was at being there.
She processed the card for me and gave me my card, and oh! my! Wonder of wonder, Mrs. Brown said I could check out up to ten books and I did. I found ten books and made that long trek back home to read.
That library became my second home for the next few years. I read just about everything in the children’s section. I was in the library two to three times a week and always checked out ten books. Mrs. Brown often teased me about finding the time to read so many books, but it was obvious she was more than pleased at my reading. I read fairy tales, adventures, mysteries, westerns, and pioneer stories.
Of the many books I read, there was one set of books I truly enjoyed. I have no memory of the author’s name. In those days, I was not concerned with who wrote the books, only the stories and the places they took me.
My favorite books were about The Small Family. There were six or seven of the books in the series and I read and re-read them several times. The Small Family always did things together. I believe it was because their dad was with them. Sharing and advising as a dad should. I missed my dad being with us. You would have thought these would be the last books I would be interested in, but there you have it.
This family had what I wanted and knew I would not have. A dad. They went on vacations together, went to the beach, the park, had Thanksgiving dinner together, exchanged Christmas gifts, and the brother and sister rode the school bus to school together and didn’t mind being around one another. Mom and Dad Small were always understanding and explained things to the children when there was a problem or there was something happening they did not understand.
I was in junior high school when I came across the “The Young Trailer” series by Joseph Altshelter, in the school library and I fell in love with a set of books. This was the set of books I tried to force my family to listen to while I read. I was doomed to disappointment because they never liked reading or being read to even a little bit.
So! Now you know my favorite children books. I read just about everything in the children section and later moved over to the teen section where I discovered romance stories. I will discuss my love affair with romance stories at a later time.
I have thought about it a great deal these last few days. I believe my fascination with the Small Family was because they were a family. I have mentioned it before and I am talking about it again. My dad leaving us for another family left a big hole in our lives. For myself, because I can’t speak for my siblings, I tried to fill that void with books about families doing things together and television shows about families. Shows showing how much the dad loved his family and his willingness to sacrifice any and everything for their happiness. I determined my family would be more like the shows I watched. I feel confident I succeeded for the most part. Nothing is perfect, if it was, we would have nothing to strive for. I am happy with how my family turned out and I believe they feel the same.
As always, I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me and please leave a comment. I like to hear what you think about the stories I am sharing because I want you to come back.
The next installment will be on the three things I love to do. I am working my way through thirty things to write about and I believe it is helping me to learn more about myself. I highly encourage you to do the same. It is a good feeling.
Until next time, take care. lw