The most vivid memories I have of trips to the library center around a three year period from about eighth grade until some point in my junior year when I got a car. During junior high, the library was about a half mile from my school. In between there was a convenience store where I could get snacks. Snacks that were NOT available at my house if I had decided to ride the bus home. The library was hardly out of the way for my parents to get me, and on baton lesson days, more convenient. So my daily library trips were a no-brainer.
It was then that I discovered this row of books at the back corner of the library called “Young Adult”. I had no clue those books were actually meant for me. I mean, the librarians kept directing me and my friends to the children’s section which was BORING! Save for a few of those Judy Blume books. And then my friends discovered a Judy Blume book in that back row. “Forever” made the rounds in my classes, often hidden behind upright geometry books. I was really irked that I couldn’t do that because my geometry teacher parked me right next to her and that overhead projector. Believe me, it’s pretty challenging to stay awake when you have warm air blowing on you and it’s right after lunch and the rest of your friends are reading all the “good” parts. And yes, all of them were reading the good parts because Teresa Caballero had made copies of the pages with the good parts. Courtesy of a Xerox machine at our local library. (And at $0.25 per page, Teresa spent a lot of money for all of us to read those “good parts.”)
So what, pray tell, were those “good parts.” Sex, of course. That’s right. “Forever” had sex in it. And we soon learned that libraries held LOTS of books with sex in them. (Remember folks, junior high, hormones, don’t get all worked up.) There was no ID to show to check out books, just a library card.
Hopefully no one out there is making a mad dash to have “Forever” banned from the “Young Adult” shelves because they think kids who are eager to read about sex are equally as eager to have it. WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG WRONG!!! I can tell you that having read “Forever” that I was no where near ready for anything like that. And that’s the awesome power of books. Kids can experience risky behavior in a safe manner. They don’t have to wait for years to see the consequences played out. They can have adventures, romance, and mysteries, all for the low, low price of one library card.
I loved my library because math homework didn’t seem to be such a drag when your friends were there too, suffering through linear equations with you, sneaking Cheetos under the table so that the librarians didn’t bust you and kick you out. Yeah, we lived dangerously. And sometimes, your crush even came to the library, and you spent your afternoon wondering if he drove there or walked. Because if he walked, then you knew his house was close by. And if his house was close by, maybe you could casually wander by. Repeatedly. (I have since learned that the term is “stalking” and is illegal in the state of Florida.)
So if the library was so awesome during those years, why did I stop going as much? Because I got a car which is awesome power. And with great power comes great responsibility. (Uncle Ben, Spiderman) Seriously though, I had to shuttle my younger sister around to her activities along with my own. There came grocery trips in exchange for gas money, and well, shuttling around my vehicle-less friends too. And the chance of seeing my newest crush? He wasn’t at the library. But I could tell you that Little Caesar’s Crazy Bread took 15 glorious minutes to bake which gave me enough time to find a mundane enough topic to talk to my crush who happened to work at Little Caesar’s. It’s not stalking if you buy Crazy Bread.
Which my stomach has just reminded me that it’s lunch time. So which should I go for? Buy up Cheetos and other junk food and sneak it into the library to share with a friend? Or do I find a Little Caeasar’s and hope that they still sell Crazy Bread? Have a great Wednesday, folks!