I thought I killed the librarian.
In my childhood town our school did not have a grade school library.
We had a bookmobile.
It looked something like this:
When it was book mobile time, three students were allowed to go out to the book mobile at a time.
We had 10 minutes to pick out one or two books.
After scrolling through the titles of every book on the very limited bookshelves, I quickly picked up two books and went to wait in line to check out. I was the last of our class to visit the touring library until the next weekly stop.
When it was finally my turn, I set my two books down and waited for the librarian to stamp the cards with the due date and then I would sign my name and run back up the hill to class.
I was quite proud of my selection of books and couldn't wait to read them.
The young, proper and Jaquelin Onasis styled bookmobile librarian looked down at my books, opened the covers and...
She started to shake, her eyes rolled back in her head, her back arched and she started to fall out of her chair...
I stood breathless, horrified! Helpless to not know what to do or how to help and worse,
I thought it was something I did! (a shy second grader)
Noticing his coworker rolling unconscious onto the floor, a gray-haired man calmly but very firmly said "Get out of the book mobile! Leave your books and exit immediately!"
With confusion, I looked down at my books, glanced at the woman on the floor and then in a panic, tripped over my feet to find steps as I bolted out the door.
As soon as my fumbling feet touched the sidewalk, the big glass doors slammed shut and the gray haired man with wide eyed fury drove up over the hill and out of sight.
I slowly walked back up the hill to the old brick school house.
With no books in hand I went back to my classroom and sat quietly at my desk.
I sat with my head down staring at the top of my desk feeling deep shame that I caused the librarian to have such a reaction.
I don't remember the book mobile ever returning.
I thought I must have picked bad books that the librarian didn't like.
I concluded that when she saw my book choices, she didn't approve.
The Velveteen Rabbit? Dick and Jane, 1970?
And I thought I killed her.
And I thought that for a long long time.
I later learned that the librarian had a seizure and that she was just fine. Whew!
And Grandpa later bought that bookmobile to use as a camper... I think I had suppressed memories... all I remember is the easy cheese and crackers he kept on a shelf that my cousins, siblings and I used to get into...