10 of my Favorite Fictitious Characters

Here are some of the book, movie, and television characters I grew up loving.

By New York : Broadway Music, publisher. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
1. Anne Shirley, “I wouldn’t want to marry anybody who was wicked, but I think I’d like it if he could be wicked and wouldn’t.” – Anne of the Island by L. M. Montgomery

2. Lady Catherine DeBourgh, “I’m very attentive to all of those things.” – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

3. The Childlike Empress, “They were with him when he hid from the boys in the bookstore…” – The NeverEnding Story

4. Mary Musgrove, “You, who have not a mother’s feelings, are a great deal the properest person.” – Persuasion by Jane Austen

5. Nikky, “I can’t think of a lovelier way of spending my life than spinning that silver light.” – The Moon-Spinners

6. Jamie Graham, (“Would you like a Hershey bar?”) “Yes, please.” (“So would I, kid. Have you got one?”) – Empire of the Sun

By FOX 52 (Sitcoms Online “The Cosby Show”) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
7. Claire Huxtable, “We are very fortunate to have the children, Cliff. Otherwise, we would never know the joy of leaving them at home.” – The Cosby Show

8. Mary Poppins, “Enough is as good as a feast” – Mary Poppins

9. Ralphie, “Don’t bother me. I’m—I’m thinking.” – A Christmas Story

10. The Sick Grandson, “Is this a kissing book?” – The Princess Bride

Your Local Automated Library

Being Library Lovers’ Month, I thought it only proper that the kids and I should head to our local library. Seriously, to go a whole month without a library visit is unheard of for us, but moving and sickness set us back. When we walked in, our new library felt all wrong to me. For one thing, it had one of those really high ceilings with lots of columns and windows in the roof with an office section in the center like a super column. Maybe the architect was going for openness. It was certainly impressive, but I felt like an ant. There were two librarians on opposite ends of the circulation desk. There I was, at the front of that massive desk, wondering which one to walk over to.

We toured the building to get acquainted with the layout. One of my kids commented on how loud it was. I’m not sure why it was loud—no one was talking. It didn’t have that cozy, considerate “Shhh! People are reading in here!” quality.

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The kids wanted to know if they could check out books on Pokemon, graphic novel biographies, Lenape Native Americans, President Taft, horses, and princesses. So, we went to what I assumed was the online catalog, which was actually one of many kiosks where you scan your library card to check out books. Did I feel embarrassed when I figured this out? No because, at that point, I’d been to three different computer stations and none of them gave me the option of the library catalog. I was annoyed. I finally gave up and walked over to a corner of the deserted-looking circulation desk again to ask where the catalog was. Fortunately, they did have one. (I was beginning to wonder if I needed to use my phone to look it up.)

The whole library was impersonal. That’s what it was: impersonal. A library is a symbol of community. It’s the access point for local information on programs and services. It should exude a feeling of connectedness, friendliness, humanness. It’s so easy to log in to the online library and, with a few clicks, check out that electronic book for a couple of weeks. Easy, but impersonal.

I’m used to going to community-focused libraries with friendly librarians who greet me and my kids by name when we walk through the door. I’ve grown accustomed to checking the little exhibit shelves, advertising local talent of all sorts. If the alarm goes off in one of these community libraries, no one thinks anything of it. The patron just goes back and has the books scanned again—because, obviously, one didn’t scan properly. When the alarm went off in this building, everyone’s eyes went to the man walking out. I wanted to tell him, “Run! Flee with your books before they decide to do a pat down!”

Goodbye, community library! Goodbye, librarian who likes to wear the bright sweaters and waxes his mustache into curly cues! I’ll miss you. I’ll miss how you used to grin using one side of your mouth so that your mustache looked uneven. I’ll miss how you always slipped a bookmark into my latest selection and how you knew everything there was to know about hummingbird-watching—which I had no interest in at all until you showed me pictures of your returning hummingbirds. I’ll miss you because the library is now automated.

Photo from: http://pixabay.com/en/portrayal-portrait-baby-face-mood-89193/

Mom’s Legacy

Every mom wants to leave a legacy, something her child will hold onto when she’s long gone. Today’s my mom’s birthday, and I’ve been thinking about what her legacy will be.

I remember how my mom taught my Bible Class when I was a kid. Mom is a natural when it comes to teaching. She knows how to create a hunger for learning.  Once, she brought me in to watch my five-year-old sister playing with Cuisenaire Rods. My sister stacked the different lengths of rods into cubes on the table, and my mom whispered to me, “See that!” Her hazel green eyes sparkled with excitement. “She’s doing square roots and doesn’t even know it!”

When she’s in teacher-mode, her enthusiasm is contagious. She is super at inventing activities to bring home key concepts, always introducing a new game. Even as I grew older, I realized her talent at bringing a lesson to life.

I remember the year we fell in love with Anne of Green Gables. Mom purchased the whole set for me for Christmas, then promptly read it before she gift-wrapped it. She would ask, “Have you made it to the part where…?” as I read the series. We shared Anne, and that may be why L. M. Montgomery is my favorite author today.

My mother sang all the time while I was growing up. I can remember being rocked while the soothing sounds of her Irish alto, reverberating against my ear, lulled me to sleep. I never wanted her to stop singing.

When I’m in my final years, I know her words will come back to me. I think I will hear them in song, just as she sings to me now when I’m in the midst of a hard decision:

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart,
and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge Him
and He shall direct thy paths;
and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Mom, how blessed I have been to have you as my mother! Please, don’t ever stop singing to me.