The Unforgettable Walk

By Susan P. 

My 4th grade teacher walked our entire class to the local public library periodically. If we had a school library, I don’t remember it. This was a long time ago; I was in 4th grade during the Cuban missile crisis. Mrs. Petersen saw to it that we went to the REAL library. One afternoon, Tommy (not his real name) sang a song all the way to the library, to the tune of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” The song wasn’t politically correct but we were only 9 years old and these were the worst days of the Cold War. (“Khrushchev the bald-headed Russian…”) Mrs. Petersen just smiled and let him sing. In the library of course, Tommy and the rest of us had to be quiet. Years later when I was in high school, I walked or rode my bike to that same library. I fed my science fiction habit at that library. I checked out and read Betty Friedan’s “The Feminine Mystique” from that library and never forgot the experience. My home town has fallen on hard times now. Last time I visited my old high school, they were giving out a lot of free school lunches. I hope the local public library still works for kids there now like it worked for me in the 1960’s.

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