Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Checking out

The tiny town in Illinois I grew up in did not have a public library in its earliest years.  Instead the bookmobile made its regular rounds, parking on the street in between the elementary school and the Catholic church.  It was an ever changing set of books to explore, and I can remember the excitement of seeing what might be there this week.  Eventually a part of the municipal offices were given over to a library, with a few shelves of books for children.  I could ride my bike over there in the summers, and exchange the books in my basket for new adventures, then head home and curl up under the crab apple tree in the backyard and travel worlds far beyond the dairy farms that surrounded my piece of the earth.

Every summer there was a reading program for kids, with prizes for those who read the most books.  Even though I was a voracious and fast reader, I never came close to topping the list.  My mother finally explained that to win, I would need to stick to short and simple books. Doctor Zhivago counted the same as Green Eggs and Ham.  I had no interested in winning on those terms, but doggedly kept entering, watching my rocket crawl toward apogee while I explored biographies (Marie Curie and Clara Barton), science fiction (Robert Heinlein and Asimov) and whatever I could dig out about space and rockets (which I built).

Today I'm borrowing both fresh air and wireless from the Chester County Public Library while I wait for my car to be serviced down the road.  It's a gorgeous day, and their wireless reaches out to the grounds where picnic tables and benches are scattered. The parking lot is packed, and people are scattered around the grounds, mostly workers from the mall across the street on break.  I'm under a tree, working up data and writing, and thinking about those glorious stretches of summer when I was free to wander the stars.  And about the magic of the internet that lets me wander far and wide from under a cherry tree.


  1. I love libraries. I grew up in a house of books and reading, and we made regular trips to the library. Books form the most functional portion of my childhood! The library where I live now has lovely outdoor grounds as well... and great wireless. Such a great post! <3

    1. It was such a perfect day to be working on a picnic table outside!

    2. And if we can listen and act on Pope Francis' latest, we'll continue to have perfect days like that for our grandchildren and great children.