Friday, January 20, 2012

A Bookish Sort of Day

Grade 6. George Hilliard Elementary School. The library was my favourite place in the school. I read constantly. And re-read stories that appealed to me. One was Time At the Top, a book whose title I could never remember but located by its yellow hardback cover on the "O" shelf. (Note: I just looked it up on Google and discovered that it's by Edward Ormondroyd and was indeed published in a yellow hardback in 1963. And that it was made into a movie for television in 1999.)

But I digress.  

On this particular day, our class is in the library, helping the librarian straighten bookshelves.  Our teacher is elsewhere. Each student is assigned a section of books to straighten. Each book is to be pulled out to the edge of the shelf and lined up neatly with the others. All goes well until one of my classmates pokes her fingers at the books I'd already aligned. I redo them. Again. And again. Completely frustrated, I use both of my hands to shove all of her books back against the shelf. Rather violently.

At this moment, the librarian turns and looks at me. In shock (for I was one of those annoyingly good students who rarely, if ever, got into trouble), she scolds me and sends me back to the classroom in shame. I am so embarrassed that I pick up my things from the empty classroom and walk home, unwilling to face my teacher or my classmates. 

I haven't thought of that day for many years, but yesterday, I filled in for the librarian at school. As I straightened shelves I remembered that sunny day so long ago. And I still felt, from a distance, the embarrassment and the injustice. Funny how memory works, isn't it? 

The books at the top are on my shelf at home, arranged at random, not aligned.

The Poires Au Vin (Pears in Wine) that I made the other day were so good. And easy. I found the recipe on Sharon's site, My French Country Home. Here's a link to the recipe. I used D'Anjou pears, just three, and added about 1/3 cup of sugar to the wine. 

Also, since I had no homemade marmalade to use in the recipe, I used Bonne Maman's. The label is so pretty. The pears were delicious, sitting in a pool of concentrated syrup and drizzled with a spoonful of salted caramel chocolate sauce (which I did not make).

Today I'm at home. Laundry, bread-making, cleaning. Hoping the freezing rain passes us by. What's on your plate for today?


  1. The library was always the first place I'd find when we moved with the military. A library card is as precious - or more important to me - than a credit card. My husband and I joke that I have built entire wings on libraries around the world with my overdue fines!
    The small injustices of childhood haunt us all the more when they are as rare as yours. I was once falsely accused of some digression and spanked in front of the entire class. The teacher later appologised, but I was mortified.
    Today? I'm just so happy to be home! I won't be budging until this messy weather is history.

  2. One of my earliest memories is going to the library with Kari in Quesnel. Our favourites were Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Trixie Beldon and the Five Little Peppers.
    It is still -4 in Surrey, but not raining or snowing. Stay warm and enjoy your bookish day.

  3. I've always thought of libraries as the most magical places in the world!

    Your pear desert sounds scrumptious. I adore ornage marmalade!

  4. Every teacher and parent and grandparent should have as similar story on the back of the mind for those incidents. When you can't believe that the child has just done what has been done, more investigation is required. So many of us have failed on that score.

    My books are a mess. I want them to be lined up on the shelf. Nothing annoys me much more than books that are pushed all the way back with all that space in the front. It is not a good look. Note to self: Spend some time on the bookshelves.

    I have spent some time out of doors taking photos of the vivid blue sky and the white, white snow.

  5. a similar not as similar...I need therapy

  6. One or two childhood incidents can still bring a flush of embarrassment, an intensity of discomfort. But remembering libraries of my early years, luckily, can dispel that quickly -- those of us who had the right libraries in growing-up are ever so lucky!

  7. I still remember going to the library with my Grandmother and at the age of 5, I qualified for my own card because I could print my own name. I loved the children's section and joined the summer book clubs. I was determined I would read all the books in the library. Your thoughts will bring back memories for many readers of your blog.

  8. I like the sound of your day and your story about libraries. I have loved libraries ever since a very savy counselor got me a job during lunch in my sophomore year, in my high schools library. (I was having a hard time adjusting mid year) I have always felt comfort and love from a room filled with books. Still do! Kit

  9. I loooove libraries. All the adventures in the world between those covers. I remember both of the libraries I used as a little girl (I think I even wrote a post?). Come to think of it, my library books are waaaaay overdue and I haven't even read all of them, where does the time go?
    Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving comments. It always gives me a little thrill, knowing someone is out there and takes the trouble to read and comment.
    It's snowing today, and I am spending too much time blog-hopping, and not enough time on laundry...and I meant to bake bread today. I guess there's still time.

  10. Your days are such pictures of domestic bliss, like a cosy little paradise all of our own.

    I too remember days of injustice at school; horrible, they were. I once ran out of the classroom howling in fury. I really had not been naughty but couldn't get anyone to believe me.

  11. One of my favourite pastimes as a small child was going to the public library with my mother. Oh the joy when I was old enough for my own library card! There was a phase in the late early 1960's when I was mad for books about horses and read everything by Pat Smythe that I could get my hands on.
    Funny the things you remember....

  12. Oh the library was my favorite spot too. I actually volunteered to shelve books. :) Great friends found there.

  13. That pear dish is calling! Yum.

  14. Enjoyed reading about your experience in the school library.
    Funny how memories come back after so many years. I'm thankful for good memories but also those that helped me learn about relationships and life in general.
    The pears look very good. I want to try a pear dessert that we had on the cruise.


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