I still remember the day, but I don’t remember clearly who took me. Was it Mama? Doubtful — she thought books a waste of time. Most likely, it was Daddy. He loved books too.
I don’t remember either of them ever reading to me or my younger brother. You know the kind of reading where you snuggle on the couch, or in someone’s lap, or even at bedtime. I do remember all the Golden Books we each had but nothing beyond that.
Then there was the day someone said, “Come along. We’re going to the library.” A rather strange word — library. And not easy to say. But I was always up for something new and the very sound of library was tinted with hints of adventure.
Arriving at our destination, there it was — the library — sitting on a grassy mound in a “Y” in the roadway. The mound had sidewalks all around, and you walked up steps to get to more walkways and more steps heading into the building. It looked enormous.
And then we went inside! Floor to ceiling, this building called a library had so many books I couldn’t possibly count them all. Was this where Heaven really was? I couldn’t believe my eyes. Then I learned by the mere act of asking for a “library card” I could take books home with me, but only for a little while.
I spent a good part of yesterday searching the digital archives for the City of Nashville, Tennessee, looking for an image that would match my memory of that day long ago, but to no avail. No such image existed.
And then I foraged through old family photos — nothing there either.
What I did come up with is a more recent photo. Thankfully, nothing about the building appears to have changed. The modern-day bike rack didn’t exist that first day, but everything else looks pretty much the same.
I remained a proud, card-carrying member of this library until we moved from the city to the suburbs in 1956 or so. The area we moved to was not graced with a library, so I became accustomed to the limitations of the bookmobile.
However, the memory of this building and the shelves upon shelves upon shelves that greeted me that first day is one of my fondest days in my memories of my life with books.
What about you? Do you have childhood memories of a special book place — library, storytime, bookstore, or reading time with a parent or other family member? Why not share with us below?