Friday, August 8, 2008

Red and Yellow Kangaroos, Books and smells

I went to my public library today, needed a new library card. When I crossed the parking lot headed for the door, I was thinking of nothing but getting an updated card. When the automatic door whooshed open everything changed. I stepped into the same old library, an air conditioned time machine. The muffled sounds of footsteps and thick carpet, whispers of conversations, whir of computers and books sliding across tables and counters. The most shocking was the smell, not a bad smell but very shocking. It instantly transported me back 30 or so years to first grade, Mrs. Whites class and walking to library. I felt like I should head straight for the childrens area, grab a book and run for the red and yellow kangaroo chairs in the window. I did go to the childrens area and look around, I wasn't looking for a book, I was looking for the Kangaroo chairs, they weren't there and I was dissapointed. These chairs, rocking chairs actually, big plastic Kangaroos. One was red one was yellow and their heads swiveled. I always liked the head turned like it was looking over my shoulder while I read my book. I know, your probably thinking, 'freaky'! Not at all, huge molded plastic kangaroos, why kangaroos? I dont know, maybe the Captain had something to do with it, it was 1977 things were strange in the 70's.

Back to the smells. When the door whooshed open the smell, odor, aroma whatever you want to call it was overwhelming. The smell of disinfectant, books, leather, carpet, paper and books. I think even the silence had an odor. It was fascinating. I didn't go looking for anything in particular, like I said, i needed a new card, but I wandered amongst the stack anyway. Ran my fingers across some books, down the spines listening to the soft flap flap flap as my fingers jumped from one to the other. It was only about 15 minutes of my day, but it was the best 15 minutes. Maybe I love the library, the smells and the silence because my Mom and Dad loves books, have always read and read to my brother and me. Maybe its because my Mom is the church librarian, maybe because I understand print and the printing process, maybe because I love to read. Who knows, but I do know I will be visiting the library more often.

I asked someone in the childrens area what happened to the kangaroos, she looked at me and said, "What Kangaroos?" I smiled and left, she's probably wondering what drug I was or need to be on.

1 comment:

Bo said...

I sat in those chairs too. Caroline, Elizabeth, and I would try to out-maneuver each other to get to them. Wasn't one of them headless? I think maybe even they both were at one time.

Remember Mrs. Striplin (sp?) who read to us in the little room in the back, next to the children's mysteries? She's gone now. I can't remember how I know that, but I'm certain of it. Remember calling 238-1233 and listening to a story on the telephone?

I need to make a day trip down there and go on a childhood tour. I'd love to walk that same path from Grace through the garden across Quintard again.