Once, in third grade, my picture was in the newspaper. I was standing on tiptoe, peering into the card catalog at the local children’s library. As I remember it, my plaid wool coat and boots were stylin, and quite fashion forward, now that I look at my current closet. (Mom, do you still have this clipping?)
And score! My favorite book about a young ice skater was checked in and available. This meant my roller skating classes conducted for the general education of the neighborhood kids in my trailer park could re-commense. Seriously.
That day, my teacher also asked the librarian to recommend a new biography for me, by way of branching out. I was skeptical. But into my stack of skating books went a book about Louis Braille. By the end of the year, I’d checked it out so many times from our bookmobile, I was worried I might press smooth the braille alphabet stamped onto the back cover. But I had to practice! I also made a mental note to discover what an awl was and stay away from them like the plague. (Note: A young Louis playing with leather punching tools led to his accident, infection, and blindness. Lesson learned. I don’t punch leather.)
Two weeks ago, I bellyached at the table about my novel researching blues. It was a dead end. A zero. No one had the newspaper I needed and basically my life was death.
Between bites, my nephew suggested that I email a librarian from where ever the newspaper came from… I nearly choked from the simplicity.
And I nearly stroked out when, a week later, four emails hit my inbox from the Alexander Turnbull Library, the National Library of New Zealand, with scans attached of the exact newspaper I needed from 1918. He included a lovely note and offered further help if I should need it.
I grabbed the nephew in a bear hug when he came home that day. He did not approve. And after much spinning and twirling about the kitchen, the hubs put up a new sign.
So, problem solved, story progresses, and the family proceeds with dinner with less anxiety from the female quadrant. When was the last time you hugged a librarian?
I think I’ll send him a puppy.