Sunday Reflections: A Legacy in Letters
Before my first child was born, Grandma gave us a book of Mother Goose poems, with illustrations that she remembered from her childhood. Now when I recite these rhymes to my girls, I find myself using the same intonation that Grandma did when I was a child. It’s the same sound my girls will use when they recite them too, now, or twenty years from now.
Lately, Grandma has been doing a lot of storytelling. She reminisces about her girlhood, the stories wrapping back around on themselves before beginning again, the words nearly identical as if grooves on a record that skipped. One of the stories was about a book she loved as a girl, a story that sounded quite similar to Raggedy Anne, but wasn’t. Together, with Grandma’s amazingly detailed memory of a few illustrations, we found Rag Doll Jane, and I learned that these rag doll stories were all the rage once upon a time. Through some Internet magic, I helped Grandma buy used copies for all of us.
This doesn’t have much to do with teen services, I suppose. But the gift of discovery, the sharing of stories, and the dialog back and forth through the giving and receiving of books that my grandmother gave me is part of what nurtured me as a reader, which in turn led me to librarianship. This legacy in letters from Grandma O is a part of the fiber of who I am now, just like the way I bounce a baby or use a paring knife, or the crease between my eyebrows. I read them to my daughters just like I teach them the family recipes, and see a familiar face when I look in their smiling eyes.
So share books with the people you love. Inscribe them. Talk about them. They will endure, and as they do, so will the memories of the time you share.
Filed under: Sunday Reflections
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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