Saved by the Book

By Sande B. 

In 1952, after my second younger brother was born, my parents packed us up and joined the rapid migration to the potato farm suburbs of Long Island. Now my favorite aunts and uncles and grandparents were no longer a hop and a skip away. Most days, I was terribly lonely, and after I’d settled into my new school, the town built yet another to which I was immediately transferred. Making friends became more difficult, and I was an easy target for each and every bully on the playground. Luckily, the town library was within walking distance from my house and so on many days after school that’s where I’d go to escape the humiliation of being teased or threatened. I was drawn to books about presidents, inventors, heroes and heroines, and attracted to their humanness, their families and childhoods. I was always looking for some place to relate. I do remember that the librarian was especially kind to me. Shy and the youngest in my class, I would spend so much time there that she’d have to tell me to go home. Though martyrdom was hardly my thing at 8 yrs. old, I enjoyed reading about Joan of Arc, especially her struggles as a young girl and her bravery. I was in awe of her courage, and the fact she’d cut off all her hair and gone to battle trying to save her country. But no matter what book I was reading, whenever I looked up, I was struck by the silence and the sensation of safety all around me. And now, years later…how could I have known that one day I would see my own book on a shelf in this very same library? Where this time I have been invited to return.

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