I've been writing a memoir of sorts that I've titled "Fly on the Wall". It consists of a collection of prose and poetry. As there's a good chance that it won't be published any time soon, from time to time I plan to post bits of its content. The following relates to an event that had a profound affect on the direction taken in my life.
The Library Discovered
I was, let’s say eight years old going on nine years old, and in Miss Montgomery’s third grade class in Midland’s Sixth Street Public School. Sounds important, but it wasn’t. I was but one in a procession of children that attended Sixth Street Public School, an impressive, massive, somewhat gothic structure, one of several similar structures built strategically across the town employed in the attempt to train the children of illiterates how to become model English speaking, somewhat literate, workers to be eventually enslaved to help to fulfill the destiny of the merchant class. But, then, that’s another story.The important part of my recollection is the fact that while a student we were subjected to a class outing. We were marched across town, actually downtown, to the Public Library, and left in the charge of the librarian, Miss something, or other, with the instructions that after she was done with us, we were to find our way home. Now my description of the events thus far might sound a bit draconian, but what happened, at least for me, was something wonderful. Yes, I learned that you must be quiet while visiting the library, but in addition I learned that books held the key to another world, other worlds actually, and a means to escape the reality of our dreary lives. Books became my best friend. My library card opened the door to knowledge. Between the hardcovers of a book were characters both fictional and non fictional who were willing to share their life experiences, yes adventures, revealing that with hard work and a bit of luck, all things were possible. I raced through the books in the children’s section of the library, and by the seventh grade was allowed to go upstairs to the adult library. I was in heaven. Here were books about science and art that revealed, at least to me, that with study and hard work, and a lot of money, all things were possible. Money, a five letter word that rolls off of the tongue, but then sticks to your very soul like a slap in the face, easy to say, but difficult, very difficult to obtain. I went to work, working while going to school. A bad mix I soon learned. I fumbled my way through school, and at the end learned that whereas it takes two to tango, money doesn’t always lead to success. Still, at the end of the day I still had a dream, a desire to become something, and become like the writers behind the characters in the books, and share my experiences through marks on paper and written words. I worked for years, a lifetime it sometimes seemed, at things interesting, but not as I had dreamed. Still, it was as it was, I held close to my dream, and low and behold somehow, between misery and joy, I’m now where I wanted to be. I’ve become an artist, a writer, and a publisher of sorts, and through it all have learned that money, though important, is not the end-all. If I could roll back time and start all over again, a boy of just nine, I’d stick to the books and make go on a dime. Knowledge is priceless, and the word is the key to success, and to happiness above all.