Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Playing Library

Hipee wrote a note recalling her pink cash register:
“I do remember my pink cash register and the noises that accompanied each ring. I guess I just felt that the cash register did not have enough UMPH with each ring thus ‘my personalized ring’ was born... Oh how I loved my pink cash register - I could play with it or play library for hours and hours...”

Oh dear… playing library was another one of Hipee’s obsessions that I remember well. We can blame the genesis of that one on our mother.

We were all readers, with the exception of our youngest sibling, a baby brother I’ll call Pretty Boy, PB for short. PB was a pretty baby. He was a pretty little boy. He was blond with delicate features, and well, compared to the rest of the motley crew, he was an especially pretty child. My mother actually had someone ask her about my father’s first wife, you know, the mother of the older three children. She is our Dad’s first and only wife, and mother to all five of us. Whiy was very blond too, which made her an acceptable sibling for the even younger PB.
People often mistook PB for a little girl, which angered Hipee to no end.
“What a pretty little girl!”
“That’s my brother. He’s a boy.”

PB just isn’t a reader. The rest of us are voracious readers. ED and I are probably the worst or best, depending upon your point of view. High Powered Executives don’t have as much free time to read or Hipee might be just as bad. Whiy reads but not as much as the rest of us and maybe with more censure and less abandon.

We moved around as a family when ED, Hipee, and I were young. Whatever city we moved to, Mom would immediately locate the library, get us all cards, and then we would all visit the library on a regular basis. On top of that we were also members of book clubs and books were also purchased at stores or through Scholastic book orders from the schools we attended. We always had lots of books around us. We all still do.

All these books made playing library a natural. It was always referred to as “playing library,” not librarian. What was unnatural were the cards Hipee made, the taped notes in the books, and the little check-out notations written on the covers of the books she checked out to you. A child today would just scanned the books, “beep,” to check them out, but that was back in the days of checkout cards in pockets attached inside the front pages of the books. You had to write your name on the card to show you were checking the book out. Then the librarian took the card, stamped the due date on the card, took the card to file it, then stamped the due date on the book, and gave you the book. This was times five or six for each person, depending upon the limit of books you could check out at that particular library. Each librarian had her own system for dealing with checking out patrons. I liked the ones who took the cards, stamped all the books, gave them to you, and then stamped the cards. It was a lot of busy work to check out a book.

The busy work at the library could have been the compelling part to Hipee, the future high powered executive. Also, come to think of it, the librarians we always seemed to come across weren’t always the nicest people around. Perhaps that’s why it was playing library and not librarian. Please, don’t take offense if you currently are a librarian, but you certainly must have run across some mean spirited, old librarians when you were young and just starting out. I’ve known some wonderful librarians since then, as an adult, but all the librarians I remember as a child, in several different cities, were old and mean. I was generally well behaved and quiet, so I didn’t have any run-ins with a librarian, but Hipee may have been reprimanded at some time for talking too loudly. Hmmm… that could be the explanation for playing library, not librarian.

I think Whiy actually went along with playing library with Hipee much more than I did. I was likely trying to protect my books from her, her tape and card system, and her scribbly written check out notations. This could be the root of the protectiveness and hoarding behavior I exhibit around books today. I could still be subconsciously trying to protect my books from Hipee, the mad player of library.

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