One morning, it snowed so hard, so long, so heavy, that they sent us home from school halfway through the school day. I don’t know why I didn’t get on a school bus home but I must have called my mom. She told me to walk to the library and wait and that after she got out of Freeport and drove home, and got my brothers–both of whom would have been in elementary school–she would pick me up there.
I remember walking there, down the left side of the street, to the only street light in town (a blinking yellow one) past the cemetery on the corner, until finally crossing over to Prince Memorial Library. I was (maybe still am?) patron #362. I still have my blue library card. Mrs. Peters, tall gray-haired and generous, and Mrs. Paul, shorter, rounder, darker haired and cheerful were the librarians. I don’t think Mrs. B was there that day. Just, it turned out, me and Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Paul. I had only started patronizing the upstairs of the library–the ADULT part of the library–recently and had never sat for any length of time in the leather chairs by the big windows. That day, I had them all to myself. I read The Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I don’t think I understood much of it but I loved it. In my memory I was there for hours and hours. Probably I was there for an hour but not much more. And, now that I think of it, probably Mrs. Peters and Mrs. Paul stayed because I was there. Thanks, Mrs. Peters. Thanks, Mrs. Paul.