Sal, Max, and Elizabeth #2: 2013.
Over the holidays, I had the delightful experience of reconnecting with an old friend. She was in transit, and so we met for lunch at Pearson Airport to catch up while she waited for her connecting flight. We had not seen each other in more than 20 years, but within moments, we had picked up where we left off. One story she told me has stuck in my mind, and I want to share it with you.
As a very young librarian in Abu Dhabi, I read to kids at every opportunity and the neighbour kids were no exception. On a regular basis, I was invited into their home. The children, their mom, and I would gather in her beautiful blue and white majlis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Majlis filled with cushions, incense and hours of conversation. She would pour tea and share her amazing, multicultural life with me, and in return I would read to her children. I read Blueberries for Sal; I had to explain what blueberries were to the children of the Gulf. They loved the wild rumpus of Where the Wild Things Are. And, of course I read them The Paper Bag Princess which was their very favorite. I must have read those books a 100 times each!
Those were magical times!
However, what has stuck with me was what my friend said next. “Ms. Kitty, three books – three little books – that you read my children changed their lives. All six have grown up to be well-educated readers, but more importantly, they are great parents, because they read to their children. Each has their own copies of Sal, Max, and Elizabeth!”
I was stunned, humbled, and truly honoured.
As my friend departed and I drove back to Guelph, I “sailed back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day.” I was reminded of how blessed I have been to be a librarian. Imagine! To walk into the wrong office at the University of Western Ontario, fill out the wrong form, and end up a kid’s librarian plying my trade around the world, and best of all, loving it!
For this and a 1,000 other reasons, I am proud to be a librarian and celebrate old friends fictional and otherwise; they bring out the very best in us and remind us of why we do what we do.
Kitty Pope # 2 January 2013