Please welcome Irene Latham to GreenBeanTeenQueen! I love her memories of the Library-this is one of the reason's I became a librarian-so I could help kids find the joy of reading! (And her photos make it even better!)
On this particular occasion, my brother Ken and I got Grandma and Granddaddy Dykes—my father’s parents—who lived in tiny Port St. Joe, Florida, which is on the coast between Appalachicola and Panama City.
My brother Ken was known to be mischievous. This was a kid who would sneak next door and cut the roses off the neighbor’s bushes.
When none of that worked, she was distraught. She told me to get in the car, and we started driving. I thought for five minutes that maybe I had won, she was taking me home.
When we pulled into the parking lot of the Gulf County Public Library in Port St. Joe, I knew she was doing the next best thing. Grandma knew personally the power of books, of story, what escape and comfort can be found in a room filled with words.
She introduced me to the librarian—“this is my granddaughter Irene who loves to read”—and I remember the delight with which I was greeted, the warm arm on my shoulder, the pillow-splashed floor I sunk into after the librarian showed me where the horse books were.
So that became our routine for the rest of the week: Grandma would cook scrambled eggs and butter grits for breakfast, I’d eat, then she would drop me off at the library. I completely missed all the excitement of my brother Ken’s go-cart adventures, and only witnessed the results: giant holes in Granddaddy’s tomato patch where my brother had spun the wheels over and over again. I had found a haven, a cure for my sadness, relief from my anxiety.
It was almost as good as being at home. And of all the libraries I’ve ever visited, Gulf County Public Library remains dearest.
As for my brother Ken? He continues to give me great material for future books.
Photo Credit: Lynn Baker