Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Remembering the Bookmobile

When I was a junior high school student in Vidor, Texas during the late 60's, one of the highlights of my life was the arrival of the Bookmobile.

The Bookmobile was simply a trailer that would park next to the school. It was filled with brand-new paperback books, and at certain times, we students would be allowed to enter the Bookmobile, browse, and buy. Of course, we had been informed ahead of time, so we had had the chance to weasel some change from our parents.

I can remember, as a sixth-grader, entering an essay contest sponsored by our school newspaper, the Jolly Roger. The winner of the contest in each grade was to win five dollars to spend at the next appearance of the Bookmobile.

The subject was patriotism. I can remember painstakingly crafting my essay, filled with my heartfelt thoughts about loving my country.

I won. And you would have thought I had won the lottery. I will never forget entering the Bookmobile, filled with the heady aroma of new books, knowing that I would be able to buy a bunch of them (remember, most paperback books cost about 50 cents each at the time!). What a wonderful memory!

Debra is the one who put me in this reminiscing mood, with her post about what she's reading now. One of the authors she mentioned was Betty Cavanna, who was one of my favorites in my bookmobile days.

Other Bookmobile favorites of mine included Rosamond du Jardin, Mary Stolz and Elizabeth Enright.

When we lived in Vidor, we had just returned from Beirut, Lebanon, where I experienced my British phase (Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfield, E. Nesbitt, etc). The Bookmobile marked the beginning of a new phase, but I never really left the first one. Throughout my life, cherished books and authors have stayed with me--either in the physical form of a book, or in my heart and mind.

The Internet is making it possible for me to become reacquainted with those hard to find books, and it's like re-discovering old friendships. In this day when life is moving so swiftly, it's sweetly comforting to pause and visit another time.

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