Once upon a time with just an apple and a book to keep her company, a young girl rode Babe the horse to a quiet spot for a heavenly, peaceful afternoon of literary adventure. I hope she enjoyed it while it lasted.
A few years later, with a whirlwind of children surrounding her, she must have desperately grasped at every precious, peaceful moment for reading that she could find. At some point she must have realized that her only hope was to draw her little people in and teach them to love the quiet adventure of reading for themselves. Once that inspiration hit we were all lost.
I know my mother read to us before, but the first book I distinctly remember at bedtime was Gentle Ben by Walt Morey. I remember the exquisite agony when she would finish a chapter and firmly close the book. It was brilliant, because nothing would teach us to long for a story more than having to wait an entire day for the next night’s chapter. I don’t remember much about the plot, but I do remember that feeling of anticipation.
It must have seemed like a dream come true when she was offered a job at our local library. We each have a place where our souls find peace, and in a quiet room, surrounded by stories, she finds hers. Her once upon a time was once again upon a time. She’s been a librarian ever since. To tell the truth, I think she was born a librarian, it just took her several years to find herself where she belonged.
There are a few distinct advantages to being raised by a born-librarian.
We learned early that books are always the perfect gift. There’s something out there for any taste and occasion and she was a master at choosing books that would suit us perfectly. She still has the touch, and her grandchildren’s shelves are filled with books that are eerily suited to their personality and history.
Library sales. They are dangerous, fascinating places. Is it possible to buy too many books? If so, it’s more possible than anywhere else at a library sale. My mother knew exactly how and when to shop them to find the best treasures, and some of my very favorite, beautifully bound old books were purchased by her there for just a few dollars.
And not least of all, the library was a sort of second home to us. We started out in the old Carnegie Library by the railroad tracks – a truly beautiful building that looked just a bit out of place in the quaint Wyoming town where I grew up. The tall windows, ceiling-high shelves and beautiful woodwork made it feel like a special place, completely “other” from the reality outside. Later the books were moved to a bigger, more modern building, and cozy was traded for airy. There’s something soothing to the soul about being surrounded by books in a quiet place. It’s the gift of being able to hear yourself think and dream and imagine.
Happy Mother’s Day to my librarian mother!
And if your mother loves books, and reading, and quiet as much as mine, here are some pretty little bookmarks that you can print and cut for the special day. Or for any day, really. Simply click on the image below and then save the full-sized image to your computer to print.Do you have a special memory of something your mother shared with you?