Tag Archives: love

On Care For Books

As the former Language Arts teacher and librarian-to-be that I am, one can safely assume that the mistreatment of books leaves me feeling somewhere between mild annoyance and sheer rage depending upon a number of variables.  (This list includes, but is not limited to: the offending child’s previous track record in the care of books, my mood, the particular book and my degree of love for it, whether I personally purchased said book with my own money, whether or not the book is checked out in my name or the student’s name if it is a library book, how much sleep I got the night before, the weather, and if I’m functioning on a full or empty stomach.)

I admit, this is true; I become highly irritated when students or my friends muck up a book and clearly don’t treat it with the care it deserves.  One year I even went through the arduous task of covering novels with clear tack paper in order to protect my precious purchases.  Naturally, these proved to be the books which were simply lost, rather than damaged.  The following year I abandoned this effort and cringed after seeing how our $500 worth of new books were treated, despite my efforts to teach the scholars how to handle our new books and how special it was for us to get such resources.  There were dog eared pages, bent covers, spines creased and broken backwards, and some books were actually left forgotten at various locations throughout the school.  These events left me cycling through the emotions of indignation, fury, displeasure, exasperation, and dejection.

Books, especially books that are intended for the use of many (some of us refer to this as “sharing”, a concept that I realize not all are entirely familiar with in this country,) need to be taken care of.  Money, time, and resources were spent on these books and they should be shown respect.

That diatribe aside, I must admit that I do have a love for that perfectly worn-in book, (MY book, not belonging to someone else).  That book that has matured and shows evidence of its many page turns as my fingers have gone through them countless times.  That book whose margins are entirely filled with tracks of my thinking.  That book that is scared with remnants of that trip to the beach when I spent the summer visiting various state parks.  I adore the idea of a well broken in book.  

Once, while backpacking through New Zealand I was faced with quite the predicament.  I always wanted new reading material, but simply lacked the room in my pack to contain all the books I desired.  Then one day early into my travels, I discovered a book shelf at a particular hostel which functioned off of the “take a book, leave a book” policy.  How splendid!  I swapped out books throughout my journey, returning home with The Glass Castle in my possession.  It is tattered and its edges are dingy, but I love the thought of all the sites my book has seen.

My most treasure books are hardly pristine these days.  They’re the ones with specks of dirt in the pages from reading outside under a tree in a park, the ones just a little bent up from being toted around in my purse in case I catch a spare moment to read, the ones with the crease in the back cover from where it got bent the night I fell asleep reading in bed because I just couldn’t put it down.  They aren’t neglected, but in fact, well loved.


My Two First Kisses

Preface:  The idea for this piece has been on my brain all week.  Last night I watched the video below and it inspired me to finally write this one.  See the clip “High Five for First Kiss” at the bottom of this post.

My first kiss was in May at the end of my freshman year of high school. This statement, is in fact, actually a fallacy.  However, when asked when my first kiss was, this is how I will always respond.

My true first kiss occurred the summer after eighth grade.  Corey McAlester’s birthday party was in June, about a week after school let out.  Over the last month or so of school I had developed quite an interest in Corey’s best friend, David Wickland.  He was tall, outgoing, comical, and a drummer.  As a trumpet player, I saw him everyday in either full band or the brass and percussion sectional.  Band was followed by lunch, thus providing ample time to mingle and make my feeble attempts at flirting.

Shannon Bailey and I went to Corey’s party together.  Shannon was about a year into her dating life and I felt slightly envious over this fact.  Most recently she had been seeing Randy O. and he was a high schooler.  I felt young and childish and was worried that Shannon would view me as such.  That year I felt as if many of my friends grew up while I stayed the same.  But no one had run off and abandoned my friendship yet, so there I was, going to Corey’s party with Shannon.

The night went on most uneventful.  As adult as many of us thought we were becoming, it’s clear how much we were still children in hindsight.  Corey’s fourteenth birthday party consisted mostly of us hanging out in his backyard, running around and playing on his swing set.  (It was proposed that we play spin the bottle, but this was declined by his parents.  I would like to take this opportunity to point out that my parents allowed the playing of said game at my birthday party.  We opted to hug instead of kiss.  Except for Amanda Riesling.)

After the birthday rituals of singing, cake, ice cream, and presents, the party began to split off into smaller groups.  David, Shannon, and I found ourselves taking a walk around the neighborhood at dusk.  I recall nothing of what we spoke of, only that I simultaneously hated and yet was relieved by Shannon’s presence.

There existed rumors that David liked me, but I remained nervous that it was too good to be true.  I had yet to recover from an incident in the fourth grade when the boy whom I felt sure I was in love with had prank called every girl in our class with his friend asking them to the dance.  David seemed excited though and appeared to be geniunely having a good time.

I’m unsure what brought about the subject, but the topic of kissing had arisen.  The specifics remain blurry, but my memory comes into focus as David posed the question: “Can I kiss you?”  To which Shannon responded with a simple yes.  Then he kissed her quickly before returning to our conversation, or rather what was now our lack of conversation.

It was silent, but not an uncomfortable silence.  Interestingly enough I wasn’t angry, upset, or even confused.  I knew that it should be awkward, yet it wasn’t, not for any of us.  Several more silent, unawkward moments passed because no one really knew what to say.

The next words spoken were by David.  For the second time that night he posed the question, “Can I kiss you?”  To which this time I responded with a simple yes.

And he kissed me.  And that was that.

Except that I was filled with a small happiness that I hadn’t experienced previously.  Somehow I knew that he did like me, but we were too nervous and Shannon wasn’t and he had to practice with her first.  It’s like when a child goes to the ocean for the first time, and big sister or Dad has to put their feet in the water first just to show the child that the world won’t end, a shark won’t eat their foot, and they won’t die, or whatever it is they’re afraid of.

He and I didn’t speak for the rest of that summer, and that was okay.  I never thought on it too much.  I never even told anyone about the events that transpired that evening.  But it was my first kiss.

I guess it never felt real.  I would have to wait nearly a year for my next kiss, which is the one I claim as my first.  I suppose it just felt more real because Jordan Holling and I actually spoke after the incident; in fact, he was my boyfriend for several months.

This alleged first kiss wasn’t much better.  After an awards ceremony one evening at school, Jordan and I were walking in the corider that connected the band room to the gymnasium.  Photos of every graduating class since the ’70s lined the walls.

Before stepping out into the night, he leaned in and kissed me.  It was wet and drool-y and most unpleasant.  The prior three decades of Springfield High School alumni witnessed this awkward and somewhat pathetic scene.  Never in my life has something I enjoyed so little brought me such great euphoria.

High Five for First Kiss: