Thursday, May 28, 2009

A contrasty day

A trip to the Kailua Kona Library led me on another trip down memory lane to the libraries in the small college town where I lived while married. There were two libraries, the city library and the county library. The city library was a lovely Carnegie building and was run by a formidable group of termagants who made it patently obvious that they resented the scum we were without doubt getting on their books. And they had a ready basilisk glare for anyone who had the nerve to try to check one out. The county library was as a sunny day to this grim night. The library itself was a not very large room in a building of county offices, and the collection of books, while small, seemed to be perfect. And those ladies wanted you to look at and check out their books. One librarian in particular, Robbie, noted my taste in books, and would frequently order books for me, either for library purchase or as an inter-library loan. Once she came up to me and said, “I ordered ‘Everything You Wanted To Know About Sex…’ I know you don’t want it, but I just needed a name. Just don’t check it out when it comes.” I was horrified. For the next several weeks, I dreaded every trip to the library, fearing the horrible book would come. It didn’t come. I relaxed and forgot about it (sort of). Then one Saturday, I was on my way to visit my mother and stopped in the library to pick up my books. There was an ancient librarian on duty that day. “You have another book, dear,” she said as she handed me the volume. I was appalled. Rather than fuss, I checked it out and quickly left.
When I arrived at my mother’s, I said, “I got a book for you at the library.” I gave it to her and she avidly opened it up to peruse, but her face fell immediately. “What’s the matter?” I asked her. “Did you put this place marker here on purpose?” she asked me, looking a little crestfallen. It was at the chapter entitled “Sex in the Autumn Years.” I told her that I had stuck it in by accident, and then the whole story. We both laughed at my silliness.
You probably have two questions. What does all this have to do with the library visit today? The answer is in the spectrum of library staff. I leave you to guess which is which. And the answer to your second question – I have no idea why I was so embarrassed to get this book. Just youthful nuttiness, I suppose.
Addendum: Lynette, the most pleasant of library ladies, is making letters for an upcoming display. The R is an Elvis letter. She also made a brilliant chicken which unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of.


Samos said...

Lynette looks very Hawaiian and really cool. So, did you ever read that chapter about the "Autumn years?" :-)

Janet said...

Hello Joanna - my mother was the Book Mobile Librarian on Maui from 1967 (?) until she retired many years later. I'll work out the date later. She moved to Maui from Boston after we children had all grown up and she had served 2 years in the Peace Corps in Nepal, 1964-1966.