Richard e Hill - a Writer's Journal

The Library ..... Magic Castle where Discovery Lives

Machu Picchu Peru- A new Seven Wonder of the world

The Library …. Magic Castle where Discovery Lives

Informal gatherings of friends at a household were a low budget entertainment option in inner city Chicago in my youth. The host would prepare fried chicken, potato salad, and a punch. The guests would bring pastries, candies, chips, soda, beer, hard booze, and someone would be reminded to “go get some or bring ice cubes”. A radio and a record player with Jazz and Blues recordings provided accompanying music. The party would begin early evening, the children would be re-introduced and an update was given with respect to education and developing skills/talents. Heavy emphasis on talent, i.e. dance step, singing, and performing; this was to be used as the party was revving up.  On this occasion that was recanted at family gatherings for years and is engraved on my personal Mount Rushmore; my late charismatic brother who was two years older told a bodily functions joke that “had them bent over and rolling” with laughter. A kindly family friend noticed me sheepishly standing with a book and asked, “Are you going to read for us?”

I blushed, nodded, and opened the hardback novel, Native Son by Richard Wright. Before I could begin, a guest suspecting this was a staged prank by my well-read father turned to a randomly selected page toward the center of the book and pointed to a passage demanding “Read this”. The guests began to snicker believing they had “busted” my father’s perceived prank. I began to read a graphic passage with racial overtones from the book. The gathering collectively gasped from the rendering, but mostly from the knowledge that I was three years old. One man who was getting an early start on the booze yelled, “That little ‘expletive’ is an ‘expletive’ genius.”

My brother calmly added, “He’s just showing off, he’s always reading something”.

Although I was reading, I did not comprehend. My tabula rasa was still acquiring entries; I was just reading words. The family was besieged with children books that were no longer being used by friends and neighbors. Radio, newspapers, and books were my constant companions. For years I read five to ten books a week with the content becoming more complex each year. I loved the dictionary most of all; I thought it contained every word and all the knowledge in the world. Then I discovered the library. My first library card was cherished more than any possession. Although I have 24/7 Internet accesses ---- a charter member of the digerati no less. The library is the stage where knowledge performs. The eclectic attendees are kindred souls in the ilk of concert goers. The neighborhood library is my inspiration for creativity in my transition from the business world to writing. I could go to the comprehensive downtown San Diego Library, but the walk to the San Ysidro Branch is therapeutic. The attendants, especially those reading to and assisting the children are wisdom’s evangelists (my favorite, who I secretly named the Story Princess, is or was a cherubic rosy cheek, silver in her hair and friendship in her voice docent that I have not seen on my last two visits; hope she has not been re-organized out in the publicized budgeting woes.) The “porn and pervert free” neighborhood libraries must be preserved and removed from the endangered species list.

The Library . . . . the magic castle where discovery lives.

CLICK on the photo for one of the sultriest, sexiest moments in the movies: Kim Novak and William Holden dancing to "Moonglow" in the film "Picnic" (1955).

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