Working in a school library, it's probably inevitable that I occasionally think about the librarians I knew during my own school years in Florida. There was Mrs. Lawson, my elementary school librarian, who wore her glasses on a chain and told us to take care of books and not leave them out in the rain. (Even then, it struck me as absurd that anyone would have to say that, and yet the other day someone returned a book to our present-day library that had, in fact, been left out in the rain.)
There was Mrs. Bruggink in middle school, and I am not at all sure about the spelling of her name. Weirdly, while I vaguely remember the appearance of that library, I have no specific memories of using it -- but I'm sure I did. I think those two years have essentially been erased from my brain by middle school PTSD.
And there were the ever-cheerful Mrs. Bellotti and Mrs. Pickens in high school. (Both here and in middle school the library was known as the IMC, or Instructional Materials Center. Apparently the term library had fallen out of favor circa 1980.) The funny thing is, in my memory, Mrs. Bellotti was the head librarian and Mrs. Pickens the aide. Doing my own job, I often cast my memory back to high school and thought, "What would Mrs. Pickens do?" Except that I couldn't remember her name -- so I dug out my yearbook the other night and was surprised to find that I've had it backwards all these years. It was actually Mrs. Pickens who was in charge. Mrs. Bellotti is my true role model. According to the yearbook she, like me, worked hard to know the names of all her students.
It's funny to think that the kids I work with now may be forming lifelong memories of me. They may not remember my name, but they'll have the image of the bald guy at the circulation desk who presided (occasionally grumpily, but hopefully not tyranically) over the room. It's a legacy of sorts.
Speaking of growing up in Florida, I talked to my mom last night. When she answered the phone I could hear her voice echoing in the house around her, and sure enough, she said the movers had come and the place was completely empty. She laughed because she'd eaten a drumstick and didn't even have a trash can to discard the bone. She planned to spend the night crashed on the floor (!) and get up this morning for the closing and the drive to Jacksonville.
The good news is, she said my brother rescued my houseplants. Woo hoo!
(Photo: An apparently vacant restaurant in Camberwell called Octopussy -- echoes of James Bond.)