I am home watching the snow fall. My bus driving lesson was cancelled and I am a bit disappointed, if you must know. Then I heard there was a twenty four car pile up on the interstate, and I am grateful to be curled up on the couch. It has been a wonderful week of adventures. Pulling books for story times, learning all the nooks and crannies of a new library, while inhaling that intoxicating smell of paper, aged by the loving strokes of hundreds of hands, hearts, and minds, overhearing priceless conversations. And that was just the first two days!
My first ride on BoMO concluded at a newer housing development. We were surrounded by cookie-cutter, beige boxes. That is where boring ended. We pulled up, Dave the bus driver set the break, then walked me through the opening of our library on wheels. We set upright, all the display books, and fired up the generator. On went the two laptops (one fore and aft) and the wireless, put a sandwich board sign out front, with neon orange cones around the exterior of BoMo, and we were ready for business.
Before a breath could be taken, the door gets flung open by our first three foot customer, an older sister following in her wake. I introduced myself (I’m the new kid on the block) and we were off and running. Girls do love to talk! Dave (a grampa type,) is a veteran of this stop, and he starts a familiar, teasing banter with both girls. I ask them what kind of books they like to read, as they wander from station to station, easily distracted, but ,you can tell this is a beloved home to them. They are both instantly drawn to the iPAD. But, then so am I. So much to experience in this small, cozy space.
This location has wireless issues, so one of our library tech guys shows up to test our connections. Dave and Tom Techie bury their heads in the laptops, so I’m on my own with the girls. Unanimously, the girls decide to make a yellow-chick craft project from a paper plate. All the pieces are pre-cut and ready to go, housed in a little tote, along with glues sticks, tape and googly eyes. A new girl wanders in looking right at home in her pajamas. It appears this is a current fashion trend. What other limits are there to push, besides going naked?
As I attempt to glue tiny yellow feathers on the plate, with a glue stick (it doesn’t work), I overhear banter between Dave and p.j. girl. They are having a conversation about her choice of clothing and with complete innocence, she says “You wear flannel boxers, to sleep in right”?
I can’t see Dave’s face, but I feel his horrified reaction. “Noooo!” he vehemently denies. I start to chuckle. At the other end of the bus Tom Techie quietly announces… “I have Star Wars pajamas.” I start to giggle with the girls. I am secretly impressed he would admit it in mixed company. I am giddy when I acknowledge I am actually getting paid very well for this! I pinch myself, as I realize this was just the first day.
I am loving a new book titled The Little Book Store of Big Stone Gap: A Memoir of Friendship, Community, and the Uncommon Pleasure of a Good Book by Wendy Welch. It was a refreshing change from The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler, which is a fictional, sad outline of the walking wounded after the Holocaust. People who find they can only limp through life and relationships, after they survive the war. It’s poignant, haunting, and a different view of the horrors of the Holocaust. It starkly explains the exhausted weariness seen in the eyes of the survivors. A life spent trying to stay numb while breathing, and it’s devastating effect on the ones who love them. Multiple generations of loss.
The Little Book Store of Big Stone Gap is a charming, humorous journal of the work (and denial,) it takes to run a book store in a small town in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I fell in love with this town in Adriana Trigiani’s Big Stone Gap series. If you haven’t read her books yet you are in for a treat. I adore the Italian spinster star of this book, who finds out she isn’t who she thought she was, while discovering passion beyond her dreams. These are wonderful books, but I thought Big Stone Gap was fictional. so I was excited to see this new title pop up. That it’s about a real book store is a bonus. I have to read it.
Having a harder time with Great Expectations, about the lives of Charles Dickens’ offspring. Mr. Dickens is the only one that I find interesting. Poor kids, I think they found that out too. More stories to come.