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memories

May 25 2012

…and the livin’ is easy.

by Veronica W

“I don’t need no stinkin’ grill!” he stated emphatically, with an impish grin. He then proceeded to dig a hole in the backyard, fill it with charcoal and other combustible stuff and top it with a purloined, foil wrapped rack from the oven.  This was his ritual for the first barbecue of the summer.  It was something his dad did when he was growing up and that, along with buying the first watermelon of the season, signaled the beginning of summer for him.  Of course after that, the “stinkin’ grill” was pulled out and used with frequency until Labor Day.

Memorial Day is the official beginning of summer and the parks and pools fill with people who have waited for this starter gun.  Yet there are many folk who don’t feel that summer has arrived until they until they have, do or experience something.  As a child , I knew it was summer when I heard the ice cream truck coming down the street.  Part of the fun was scrambling for change and then racing after the truck, yelling “Wait! Wait!” as it started to pull away.  Nothing tastes so good as a creamsicle (orange sherbert and vanilla ice cream) that you’ve had to work for.

As an adult, I’m not so easily pleased (if  lack of dignity and good knees would allow me to race after an ice cream truck).  However summer has arrived for me when I am not awakened by the rumbling of school buses. I also have one very sheer, “floozy” skirt that I wear only when it’s very hot. I’ve had it for years and fortunately it has an elastic waistband.

If you need some help slipping into the season, listen to any rendition of Gershwin’s Summertime and check out these books to get you in the spirit:

Al Roker’s Big Bad Book of Barbecue –  100 recipes for backyard cooking

The Ultimate Ice Cream Book – wonderful recipes for ice creams, sorbets and more

10 Best of Everything National Parks –  top selections of parks

Perhaps, however,  there’s something else that helps signal summer for you. If it’s not digging a hole in the backyard, we’d like to hear what it is.

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Nov 15 2011

Libraries of the Past

by Greg H

A week or so ago one of my colleagues wrote an entry about The Libraries of the Future. I find that I have enough trouble wrapping my head around the Libraries of the Present, so I started to think back, fondly, to the library of my past I grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, and our library was the Adams Memorial Library, located at 1112 Ligonier St. where it intersects with Chestnut St.  My grandmother lived on Fairmont, just a few blocks from the library. The day I got my first library card I remember lying stretched out on her sofa reading the first book I ever checked  out, Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling Clancy Holling.

At that time the library was under the management of  the “legendary”, to quote the library’s webpage,  Sara McComb.  She was a tiny, spinsterish woman with slightly hunched shoulders and could be seen daily, walking through town to and from  the library in her very sensible shoes. She never came off as menacing but the old Victorian house she lived in, the one surrounded by the pointy black wrought iron fencing, certainly did.  It very much resembled the type of house that trick or treaters told scary stories about and avoided and, I think, added to Miss McComb’s mystique.

My library of the past even had a technology that has made a lasting impression on me, maybe because even then I understood it.   While checking out I would watch the library staff process each book, making their notations with a pencil and then tilting that pencil forward to stamp the due date with this gizmo attached above the pencil point!  It struck me at the cleverest labor-saving device I’d ever seen to that point in my life and I guess it’s still in my top ten.

All in all, my hometown library probably was little different from most anyone else’s. Still, it will always be a special place to me, as is any place that has enhanced my love of books and reading.

The following books about libraries are available through the DeKalb County Public Library system:

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