After my parents divorced when I was five my model turned stay-at-home mom went back to school. She had considered getting a nursing degree but instead became one of the only female machinists in our area. I always admired my mom for taking on not only a job in a male dominated field but for the sacrifices she made to make sure my younger brother and I were cared for. We didn't have much but for the most part we never went without the basics. Cable TV wasn't something we could afford. New toys were something we got from our grandparents and at holidays. We rarely went out to the movies and renting VHS tapes wasn't a regular occurance. There were only two real ways to entertain ourselves; playing outside and reading indoors. We had a lot of outdoor adventures in the big field behind our house, in the space under the lilac bushes behind the neighbors house and catching tadpoles in the pond in the back yard. But reading became an escape as soon as I learned how to read my first word... BOOK.
Some of my early favorites were Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth, Morgan and Me and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. But we didn't have a lot of money to buy books, though my mom did her best to use the book orders we got at school when she could. Instead, we used to make a special trip once or twice a month...
I still remember that first time she took me the the library in my home town. To this day the smell of libraries evokes a euphoric feeling deep down to my toes! I don't recall much about the library's layout or anything special aside from that smell but I still remember the first library book I checked out. It was some version of "the little engine that could" story.
Ever since those days I've loved libraries. When my son once asked me what kind of room I would want at his mansion when he grows up and makes his millions as a robot-engineer/chef I said "a library". Then he wanted elaboration which involved me going on about 14' high ceilings, dark wooden shelves, a cozy fireplace and velvety wingback chairs. Yep, the sort of room you see in movies. Though I imagine the shelves of trashy popular fiction rather than first edition classics would give visitors pause.
Now that my husband and I have bought our first house I'm discovering that my own office, let alone a library, are years away from happening. (Although I will admit the temptation to buy an e-reader and start building a pocket friendly library is tempting). And with a mortgage, home improvements to be made, and two children we hope to help through college our extra cash flow isn't so much improved on the income I grew up on. But then who has lots of extra money in these financially uncertain times?
I don't get to our local library these days (their hours don't work for my freetime) because of this I do sometimes get my retail therapy—all women need this from time to time—through an odd sort of window shopping. As in browser window. Whatever 'net browser you prefer this is (for the most part) a great way to shop without shopping. I load my Amazon wishlist with books (and sometimes other stuff like the food processor I added yesterday) I like the cover on or that are coming soon in my favored genres and feel like I actually got something. By the end of one of these afternoons shopping I usually feel almost as satisfied as if I'd bought something with the added bonus of getting ideas of what is coming out soon.
Now if only I had some damned book shelves to put the books I do own on... -- Rhi
photo credit: juliaf