For two long weeks, I was sidelined from my voice lessons by a persistent cough and cooties. I couldn’t wait to sing again! And so it was that, ack! I showed up on my teacher’s doorstep a whole two hours early.
If ever there’s a place to be with time on your hands, Laguna Beach is it. I hiked toward the beach, a few short blocks away, reveling in the cloak of quiet afforded by the salty morning mist.
Inspired by Candice Ransom's recent blog entries, I ducked inside an Assistance League thrift store. Baubles and Handbags Sale! the sign announced, but that's not what drew my eye. There, in unfamiliar surroundings and with unexpected time on my hands, I was reunited with a dear old friend.
And boom! I was 9 years old again, sprawled on the floor of our neighborhood bookmobile, flipping through its pages.
Bookmobile Images via ark.cdlib.org
I paid $1.50 for this pleasure, tax included.
As gentle waves lapped against the seashore, I reacquainted myself with the rhythms and rhymes between its covers. Some selections, if I’m remembering right, were instant favorites; others grew on me with time. I discovered some new friends, too, including a poem about hummingbirds, no surprise, and the last stanza of Song for A Blue Roadster…
Fly, Roadster, fly!
Leave Time behind;
Out of sight
Shall be out of mind.
Shine and Shadow
Blue sea, green bough,
Nothing is real
But Here and Now
…which is where I closed the book, leaving the rest for another Time.
Long before online libraries brought the literary world to our fingertips, the Orange County bookmobile made deliveries to my neighborhood. Every two weeks or so, the librarian would roll up to the curb and wave all the children inside. We’d squeeze together in the narrow aisle for story hour, and then she’d let us check out as many books as our little arms could carry. For lonely girls like me, that bookmobile was Heaven on wheels.
In gratitude for that Bookmobile—plus all the bricks-and-mortar libraries I’ve enjoyed over the years—I’m participating in author Jennifer Hubbard’s I LOVE LIBRARIES blog challenge.*
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS: For each individual who comments on this blog entry between now and 12:00 noon (PST) on 3/28, I will set aside $1.00—up to a total amount of $100.00—to help fill the library shelves at Girls Inc. of Orange County with books written by authors on my friends list. At a loss for words? Make a book recommendation. Or leave a note for participants in Girls Inc.—I’ll see that your messages are delivered.
Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold sm
Note: If a single person leaves 50 comments, that still only counts once! But you can
rack up the total help spread the word by linking to this post and/or sending your friends here to comment. Note also: If you’re not a member of LiveJournal, please sign in as Anonymous (your comments will be temporarily screened). Tell me how you came by this entry…enquiring minds and all that.
*For a complete list of participating bloggers (and to link to other sites where you can help libraries just by leaving blog comments), take a peek at writerjenn’s post.
ETA: I’m overwhelmed by–and very grateful for–everyone’s generosity! Since I’ve reached my goal, please consider adding comments to Sara Lewis Holmes’s I LOVE LIBRARIES blog entry. She’s supplying books to Flying Horse Farms, a camp for kids with serious illnesses. As well, you can connect with other I LOVE LIBRARIES campaigns here.
I always wondered what happened to my beloved bookmobile. I worshipped the asphalt it rolled in on! And some of my fondest memories include the bookmobile librarian, who introduced me to wonderful stories and fantastic ideas. When I climbed into that bookmobile, I was transported to worlds far beyond my own.
Well…happy days are here again, thanks to Mrs. P! Starting today, she’s going to be wheeling around the internet, delivering the old classics to a new generation. From today’s Los Angeles Times:
Sitting in an oversized chair, reading children’s classics aloud in an Irish brogue near the ambient light of a gas-log fireplace, Mrs. P is the title character of a new children’s storytelling website (at www.mrsp.com) that makes its debut today. The launch coincides with the beginning of National Young Readers Week.
[T]he Mrs. P character has a pretty wild back story — that is, when she isn’t in her lavender chair reading from the cloth-bound "Mrs. P’s Book" in her lap.
Not only does she drive a Ferrari, she’s met the Queen of England. And as evidenced by her red-rimmed Truman Capote glasses, floral muumuu and sculpted John Fluevog heels, she has an unusual sense of style.
"She’s a combination of dusty old roses and lemon juice with a little bit of tequila behind her ears," says Kinney. "She’s eccentric. She’s stable, but she’s leading a really fantastic life. And people who read lead fantastic lives."
If you want to read more about Mrs. P., go here. Better still, go hear her read.
Mrs. P photo credit
Recently, and just for fun, I read Kerry Madden’s novel, Gentle’s Holler. I savored every page. The main character, Livy Two, made me laugh and cry and remember my own (very similar) childhood. One of my favorite parts of the story was Livy Two’s relationship with Miss Attickson, who runs the local bookmobile. Did any vehicle generate more excitement on my street – other than the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile or the ice cream truck? I think not.
Coinciding with National Library Week, American communities are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the bookmobile. This traveling library served Anaheim in 1958; it looks like the one that visited my neighborhood some years later.
Image credits: ark.cdlib.org
Did you know there’s actually a camel-drawn bookmobile in Africa that provides books to communities along the border between Kenya and Somalia? One of Kerry’s LJ entries introduced me to this project. According to their website, “Camels bring books to a semi-nomadic people who live with drought, famine and chronic poverty. The books are spread out on grass mats beneath an acacia tree, and the library patrons, often barefoot, sometimes joined by goats or donkeys, gather with great excitement to choose their books until the next visit.”
Wouldn’t you love to deliver books to people who may never have seen a book before? Well, now you can!