Sunday, August 5, 2012

Oh, Kaye!

BREAKING NEWS: (HANK on behalf of ALL THE REDS):  Just to say--Welcome, Dear Kaye! As we promised, Kaye's going to be our Andy Rooney (only much cuter) and our Dorothy Parker (only nicer)  and our Mark Twain (without the mustache.) She'll be here every first Sunday...and we are so thrilled!) And to welcome her--a lucky commenter will receive a signed book of their choice--from the Red go of their choice! And now--our own Kaye Barley. 

  I was an odd little child.

That's not to say I wasn't happy.

I remember my childhood being a happy one, filled with a loving family, a lot of laughter and very good friends.

I also remember being quite content being by myself with a book.

I think I knew, on some childish intuitive level, that this was considered a little odd by some of my friends and family members. 

Luckily, my closest friends were understanding and accepted my differences.  They remain some of my closest friends today and still refer to me as "Bookworm." 

And, of course, since I now live in the south being odd is a badge of honor. 


One I wear with great pride.

My parents, however, fretted a bit over a little girl with the nickname "Bookworm."

A little girl who seemed to dwell in a world of make-believe. One who preferred books over dolls, and later in life preferred books over boys.

Both my parents read, but they weren't what most of us would call big readers, and certainly not bookworms. There were books in our home, but we weren't tripping over piles of them like Donald and Harley and I now do in our own home.

Because my parents recognized my love of books at an early age, they introduced me to our local library and it remained one of my favorite places as long as I lived in the small town of Cambridge, Maryland. It also remains the quintessential library in my mind. When I walk into the brightly lit libraries of today they still surprise me a tad. And if I hear people talking loudly I'm surprised when no one behind the front desk says "Shhh." I'm an old fogey in this regard, I'm afraid, and miss the library of my youth. An old brick building with gothic arched windows, and worn wooden floors, tall dark oak book cases, corner nooks and crannies, and massive oak tables and chairs. I remember many an afternoon spent wandering aimlessly in this quiet place and browsing the shelves. There may have been books on those shelves I never got around to reading, but it's doubtful there were many I didn't at least touch.

The Old Cambridge, MD Public Library.  Built in 1939. 
The building was turned over to the City Council in 1974 when
 a new library was erected.  My thanks to old and dear friend Charles Tinley for the photo.

I remember the choosing of a book to take home as being a big responsibility. Settling in with a book that proved to be a disappointment was heartbreaking. Infuriating! A frustration of such magnitude it would incite me to whine mightily at the supper table. What problem could possibly warrant more discussion than my dissatisfaction with a book, after all?

It was a while before my child's mind grasped that, of course, books are going to be vastly different from one another. Written by authors from a multitude of genres - some to my liking, some not so much. Not every book on those library shelves was written by Carolyn Keene. And so, like every odd little bookworm of a child, my tastes in literature changed and grew but that love of the land of make-believe never ever disappeared. And I'm still spurred into an occasional rant when a book doesn't live up to expectations.

I remember some of the books I happened upon by browsing around the library. One of them was Don Marquis' "archy and mehitabel." It was also one of the first books I remember buying when I became familiar with bookstores.

Reading books was great. But to be able to actually own them?

Wow. A thrill just as powerful today as it was when I first experienced it. What a kick to be able to walk to a shelf in my home, pick up a well-worn copy of "archy and mehitabel" and relive one more time "the song of mehitabel” -

" . . . wotthehell wotthehell
cage me and i d go frantic
my life is so romantic
capricious and corybantic
and i m toujours gai toujours gai"

And that is exactly how I feel about being invited to join the lovely ladies of Jungle Red.

Honeys, I am toujours gai toujours gai.

Reds, thank you so much for inviting me.  You've made me feel quite special.

Readers, I'll be here the first Sunday of each month for as long as The Reds will have me. I hope you'll come by and say "Hey!" every month so they won't realize they might have asked the wrong gal by mistake.

In the meantime, I'd like to hear what book you may have discovered at the library when you were younger that you later knew you just had to have in your own personal library. What was your "archy and mehitabel?”



p.s. - Jude Honey?  Here's to you and your much loved Mehitabel who was also  toujours gai toujours gai.

"my youth i shall never forgot
but there s nothing i really regret
wotthehell wotthehell"


  1. So good to have you here, Kaye!
    I can remember finding A Town Like Alice (in the adult section where I wasn't really allowed at the age of eleven or twelve) and for the first time realizing that a book could take me somewhere and tug at my heartstrings.

  2. Uh oh, confession time. I read all my older brother's baseball biographies first, so the first book I actually went to the library to read was --- PEYTON PLACE. My friend and I heard there was there. Oh my, what a disappointment.

    And congrats on joining The Reds, Kaye!

  3. Good morning, Kaye, and welcome. As one who also grew up loving books, I enjoyed the reminiscences of your childhood joys of reading. Unfortunately, the local library was not close to our home when we were small, so discovering its special joys was something reserved for a bit later in my life. [But, as a parent, I made sure our children got there early and often.]

    Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” books were among my earliest discoveries, first borrowed from the library, later to become part of my own treasured collection of books in my home library. [You could trip over piles of books here, too; we just keep finding corners in which we can put up more bookshelves.]

    Interestingly enough, that thrill of owning books, so strong for any book I bring home, does not necessarily extend to volumes I have on my eReader. Although I appreciate the convenience of the eReader, I have discovered that the joy of owning books seems to center around those volumes I can hold in my hand, put up and take down from my bookshelf --- one whose pages I can touch and feel and turn . . . and treasure.

  4. Here, here Joan--I have stacks and stacks and stacks and love every one!

    Kaye, so nice to have you here! I was a huge bookworm too, but that wasn't odd in my family. My sister and I would come home from school, grab a snack, and retreat to our rooms to read. Still one of my very favorite things!

  5. Congratulations to Jungle Reds, some of the finest writers in God's green North America, for inviting you, Kaye! You are a rara avis!!! When I was in the 6th grade in Burlington, North Carolina, I won the prize that year for reading the most books!
    Look forward to reading your talented insights here and congrats from the crime writers gang from Albany, Manhattan, Jersey and Philly! Thelma Straw

  6. Glad to see you here with the Reds, Kaye!

  7. Even the books that said they were written by Carolyn Keene weren't! (That was a pseudonym used by a whole host of writers of the Nancy Drew stories.)

    Kaye, it's so exciting for you to join the Reds! I will look forward, with great pleasure, to reading your contributions to the blog.

    I was the bookworm in our family, and although my mother read a little--and who reads a ton now, it was my grandmother who inspired me to the prodigious sort of bookworm life. Grandma did not drive, but she had raised nine children and was more than a little nightowl, staying up half the night, reading. She and Grandpa were very active at church, and the library was cattycorner from the block both the Catholic church and the school were on. Grandpa worked as a sexton for the cemetery associated with the church, so he was often there for business (and for funeral reasons), so he would drop Grandma off at the library.

    Our library had a six-book limit for borrowers, but Grandma read so quickly they allowed her to take as many books as she wanted. There were always stacks of books, usually novels about nurses, on their dining room table, unless it was Sunday. (Everyone in town that day went to Grandma's for Sunday afternoon dinner.)

    The school library at the high school had a book called I Married Adventure, by Osa Johnson, whose husband was a wildlife photographer. It made a huge impression on me, and probably made a difference years later, when I met my husband, also a wildlife photographer.

  8. Mornin' Guys!

    Oh Laws, I am happy to see you - you have no idea. You know those dreams you have about throwing a party and no one shows up? I was SO afraid that was going to be the case here. Whew.

    Rhys, hi. Thank you so much for dropping by and thank you for inviting me. It means a lot.

    The first book I remember finding in the adult section was Forever Amber. I don't recall a thing about that book, but I do remember the cover and the look on the librarian's face when I checked it out. I think I also remember her saying "tut, tut."

    Jack, Good Morning and Thank You! Oddly enough, I have Peyton Place in my TBR stack. Its been there for a couple years now. I want to reread it to see how it holds up. And I want to read more about Grace Metalious.

  9. Joan, thank you for the welcome! I feel the same way about eBooks. I went totally bananas just grabbing books randomly when I first got mine. Price (or lack of) played a big part in my buying. Since then though I've gone through and deleted a huge number of those books and am now much more selective. But, like you - it's just not the same. I love the convenience of eBooks. love being able to start reading them the minute I hear about them, but I do not have a strong attachment to them. The much-loved authors on my "auto-buy" list the minute they have a new book on the shelves will continue being brought home in "tree book" format. As you say - to touch and feel and treasure.

  10. Lucy, Hi! My mother was especially concerned about how I could curl up with a book and honestly just not hear a word of the world around me. I learned at an early age to tune things out. It's a trait that served me well when I was working. It's a trait that took my Donald some getting used to. It's not unusual for him to give me a little thump on the head to get my attention. A gentle thump - but a thump nonetheless.

  11. Good morning, Kaye! What a nice post! I too have been a library lover from an early age -- can still visualize the various libraries of my youth. And I adore Archie and Mehitable - toujours gai, indeed!

  12. Oh, Thelma, you gladden my heart, sweetie! Thank you for being here.

    And Bill Crider - Hey you! (Bill's going to be my guest at Meanderings and Muses soon. Did y'all know he has a new Sheriff Dan Rhodes book out? Yep - check it out! Murder of a Beauty Shop Queen)

  13. Karen - Hi! Oh golly, I can't begin to tell you how sad I was to learn the truth behind Carolyn Keene. I was heartbroken! I also recall sharing that story with one of my faculty members at Appalachian State University. I will never forget the look on his face - he was crushed!!! That's one of those secrets that I wish could have remained a secret.

    I didn't know your husband was a wildlife photographer - I love that! and your story about your grandparents. One of my grandmothers couldn't read and I remember being a little bit scared by that fact. Can you imagine?!

  14. Vicki, Good Morning! I'm not the littlest bit surprised that you're a fan of archie and mehitabel - we seem to share the same taste in a lot of our reading. toujours gai, girl!

  15. Wonderful article, Kaye! The first book that I read at a library and then went out and bought for myself was A Wrinkle in Time. In fact, I just bought it again, for my Kindle.

  16. Kathleen - One of my faves, too! I have not read it in forever. Guess where I'm headed . . . .

  17. Kaye, What wonderful memories you brought back. Like Kathryn, I bought A Wrinkle in Time, but I did it when I met Madeleine L'Engle so I could have it autographed. Even when I was in grad school, I loved to meet the author. I come from a family of readers, although I'm the only one with piles and piles of books around the house.

    And, the best day of my life was probably the day I became the director of my hometown library, the library I loved from the time I was a child, and had my own key! The key to the library to get in anytime I want! I've had the key to a library since I was 22, and if I have a disappointing book, I can go exchange it anytime I want. Now, that's power!

  18. Welcome to JRW.I will be sure to check it on Sundays.

    I too was a bookworm.I would go to the library in the summer and bring home a stack of books.I would then curl up in a chair,making sure the fan was blowing on me and disappear into another world.

    One of my favorite series of books was Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy/Tacey series.Does anyone else remember them?

    Thank you for bringing up those childhood memories.

  19. What a wonderful first article, Kaye. I had to laugh as archy and mehitable was my first archy and mehitable.

  20. Hi Kaye,
    My favorite days were the days we walked to the library, either at home or at my grandparent's summer home in Nahant. Summer people weren't allowed to have cards but due to my Grampa's influence we got them. I would read my books, my older sister's books and my twin sister's books.
    One of the first books I bought for myself was Jane Eyre. I still have it. My husband would tell you that I still have every book I ever bought....:)
    Congrats on being here!

  21. Hello Kaye,
    I love to read and like one of the posts here won my schools award for reading the most books.

    I can't remember my first book, but I do recall being into books about Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, then a bit later into horses. I read all the Black Beauty series and the spin offs. However even back then I would read a lot of science and how to books.

    Alas because of my wandering ways, I have slowly through the years eliminated books... gasp, ya that's right. But as Joan said, its just not the same, even with a leather cover having close to a thousand books on my e-reader. I have still all my classics, and rare books but few besides them. Perhaps someday if I ever really feel I am settled I will collect books again.

  22. archy she says to me
    the life of a female
    artist is continually
    hampered what in hell
    have i done to deserve
    all these kittens
    i look back on my life
    and it seems to me to be
    just one damned kitten
    after another

    Such a delight to be reminded of Mehitabel! My first bought book though was The Collected Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay. Cost me a week of my tobacco wages and worth every penny. Read it to pieces and had to have it rebound after 20 years.

  23. Kaye, nice Red debut! I didn't have many books at home when I was a kid, so I pretty much read what my mother had in between trips to the library. Forever Amber, yeah. Leave Her To Heaven, that one too, those were in the house. The library supplied all the Nancy Drew books I could carry home and I, too, was devastated to learn Carolyn Keene didn't really exist. The big thing I remember about reading books as a young pre-teen was that I would read the same books over and over till I could get back to the library. Several Edgar Rice Burroughs books fall into that category. They bored me but I read them anyhow. I've pretty much had a book in my hand all of my life. Congratulations on your Jungle Red status, that's terrific, and you've more than earned it. XOXO Beth

  24. Oh, GAWD - I'm gonna LOVE this gig! Lesa,Hey! I'm so happy so took a minute to drop by! You know, I've never even thought about you librarians holding the keys to the castles. Now that is cool! And powerful? You bet! I think one of the rooms in heaven must be a room you have your own key to - the room holding what's dearest to your heart. A room filled with books would fit the bill perfectly, I do believe.

  25. Kaye! It's so nice to have another opportunity to run into you. I share your affliction (well, others think of it as an affliction) of being so completely in the world of the book the real world recedes to background noise. The first book I remember capturing my imagination was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Of course, it was recommended by the wonderful local librarian.

  26. Pam, hi! I don't think I'm familiar with Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy/Tacey - how could I have missed them? But I'm going to look into them. You know the series I loved, but hardly anyone ever seems to mention them - The Dana Girls, or was it The Dana Sisters? I'm an only child, and the stories about two sisters who were best friends solving mysteries appealed to me.

  27. L.J. - now, why am I not surprised to hear you're an archy and mehitabel fan, sister of my heart?

  28. Kaye, I loved this post. Oh, the memories it brought back! This bookworm always had a book under the covers with a flashlight, after lights were turned out and I was supposed to be sleeping; under the desk at school so I didn't have to stop reading when there were lulls in the classroom. And today, when I spend half of the six months of the baseball season at the ballpark, I am never without one or two books with me, to sustain me during the between-innings commercial breaks!

    I too prefer the tactile sense of holding a book in my hands, savoring my favorite passages and turning back to re-read a particularly wonderful part. This Luddite - and fortunately for me my husband feels this way as well - will never replace that with an e-book, no matter the advantages of the latter!

    My husband says that the books that cover every spare foot of space in our house are going to displace the humans soon!

    Welcome to JRW, Kaye - great to see you here!


  29. Eileen,hi! Jane Eyre. sigh. What a perfect "first book" to own. I'm glad you still have it. I have a little hole in my heart for some of the books I let people borrow that never found their way back home. Many of them really don't matter, but there are a couple I would love to be able to track down.

    Jim - I think many of us are starting to go through the "simplifying" stage. Books have to be included, I think. Donald and I recently did away with our guest room and filled it with shelves. It's a "mini-library," I guess. While I was alphabetizing books I ran across MANY that I'm in the process of giving away. But my signed and personally inscribed books will be here with me as long as I'm here.

  30. Margaret! Hey you!!! "one damned kitten after another." oh yeah.

    I love that you had your Edna St. Vincent Millay rebound rather than buying a new one. That says so much about you - all lovely good things.

    I'm so glad you dropped by - Thank You! (heeeeee - this is so much fun). Hugs to my friend Joe, please.

  31. This comment has been removed by the author.

  32. Sandee BarrowcloughAugust 5, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    Great 1st outing, Kaye! My first "must-have" book was Half Magic by Edward Eager. As a matter of fact, I still give it as a gift to young readers. I still revisit my old friends very now and then.

  33. Beth, Hey!! Your remark about reading books that bored you rings a bell. I guess readers do that, huh?! I remember being in Atlantic City on vacation with my parents and finishing my book. This is when I realized it would be a good idea to take along more than one book in the future. But we were staying in a boarding house and there was a common room that had books. Lots and lots of books. 99.9% were westerns. I read a couple, but I had to admit, that's not my favorite. Unless it might be Lonesome Dove, now that's a book I truly did love.

  34. Welcome, Kaye! You'll fit in perfectly here. I was a little bookworm with a small-town library like you. In fact, in 4th grade, when we had to do a presentation on hobbies, I came into school with a box of books and a sign proclaiming myself "A Bookworm."

    It's a hobby that's stood me well all these years.

  35. Carol, hi! Oh my - those Narnia books! Aren't they wonderful? I think, honestly, those are books I appreciate more now as an adult - do you feel that way? After reading Harry Potter I found myself going back to rediscover childhood favorites and most of them still resonated with me.

    Gloria - Hey you! Under the covers with a flashlight! Yes! Wasn't that fun?! And, of course, our parents never suspected a thing, right?! I can't even begin to guess how many books you and Ted must have! Do YOU know?? Really - if you do I'd love to hear.

  36. Hi Kaye!!!! We are so thrilled to have you on JR!! And what a great post. Hometown parents read but weren't bookworms. It was my grandmother who took me to the library every week and let me check out the limit. Such nice memories, and I'm speaking twice at that library (Richardson Public Library) this year.

    First book to buy? Hmm. Might have been Marguerite Henry's King of the Wind. And I had all Walter Farley's Black Stallion books. Still have a couple. I know I read A Wrinkle in Time at school, and bought that. And in my teens, Lord of the Rings, in paperback. I didn't come out of my room for a week.

    But how did I miss Archy and Mehitabel????

  37. Sandee - Hi!!!! LordAMercy - I'm hearing about books and writers I've never encountered. I love this. I'm not familiar with Half Magic by Edward Eager - gotta go see what I can find out about it.

    Julia, oh my. I'm loving being here. Thank you for inviting me. I LOVE your story about your Bookworm proclamation. That is so perfect.

  38. Debs! Hey, sweetie! How delightful that you're speaking at your childhood hometown library. wow. That must be a lovely and gratifying experience.

    Isn't it funny to learn what books we missed?! How could it happen?! You would enjoy, I think, archy and mehitable - give it a whirl.

    and Debs? thank you for having me here. I am over the moon (could you tell??).

  39. Welcome, Kaye! What a great addition you make to the Jungle Reds!

    The library was always my sanctuary as a kid from a troubled home. I look at our libraries now with their reduced hours and wonder what kids like I was have to help them through their days.

    I have loved achy and mehitabel since I was a kid. So nice to see the quotes from them you and Margaret posted. The first book I bought with my own money (gift from my grandmother) was on of the many Albert Payson Terhune collie books. I eventually owned them all and Misty of Chincoteague plus lots of horse books. By that time, my reading at the library had moved into adult books like Dickens, Shakespeare, Steinbeck, but I wanted to own those books that I loved when I was younger (than ten).

  40. FINALLY back form Vermont--my iPad would not let me comment, and I was itching to chat with you all! Kaye, you are a dream.

    Oh, Wrinkle in Time, of COURSE. This is the books fiftieth anniversary, can you believe it? And the JAne Langton books, A Diamond in the Window, anyone read that?

    I was on a panel with NAncy Pearl at ALA, and she also was taken with the Betsy/Tacy books--I hadn't read them, either.

  41. ANd oh, MArgaret, my mother used to say that all the time--what in hell I have I done to deserve all these kittens? And then we'd all laugh...

    Lesa, that's so lovely. The universe works in mysterious ways.

  42. You know, though, Black Beauty was the first book I read where I thought--oh, this is more than just a story. Yes, Deb, King of the WInd. All the horse books. There was one called--SIlver Birch?

    And Sandee, yes, absolutely! I LOVED Edward Eager! And like you, I keep a pile of them around just in case I can give one to a kid who hasn't read them.. They are still fabulous.

  43. Beth, Leave Her To Heaven was one of my first "grown up" books. I sneaked it from my parents shelves. It didn't..end well, if I remember. And that was a new experience for me...

  44. Hank! You made it, Yay!!! I was a little skeered without you here to hold my hand, but - - look! People came! heeeeeee!

    You were on a panel with Nancy Pearl? Now how cool is that?!

    OH! Those books we keep around to give to our friends and family! Does everyone do that? Don't you love doing that?! Not so much children, 'cause there are too many of those in my immediate circle any more, but I can sure hand out some grown-up books.

  45. Kaye, nice to see you here. The first series I remember reading from the library, starting the summer after first grade, was non-fiction - those biographies with the blue covers. I strongly preferred the bios of women. Wasn't really allowed to buy books as a kid - that's what the library was for. But my father took me to the bookmobile regularly, and the librarian knew my taste and always had something tucked behind the counter for me. This is a service that my workplace provides for our members, and it felt like I'd come home when I found this place. I just recently learned that that librarian has the same name as Charlaine Harris's mother (a fact gleaned from the dedication of From Dead to Worse). Assume it wasn't her though.

    When my kids were in elementary school I bought some of my old favorites that were still (or again) in print. The only ones that were a hit were the Edward Eager books, and we did start with Half Magic.

  46. Linda, Thank you! And I meant to come back yesterday to tell you how much I enjoyed your poetry. I look forward to reading more. It's lovely!

    I do remember, although I had not until you mentioned it, our library in Cambridge being where some children went after school to wait safely until their mothers got off work. A different time and it's a time I miss fiercely.

  47. Lois - OH! I remember those biographies! I loved those! I'm still a fan of biographies, and one of my most guilty pleasures would include celebrity bios. 'cept I wish I had never read Eric Clapton's. I loved him till I read that. I wish he hadn't told me so much, really.

  48. Um - just a passing thought here.

    Hank said, "As we promised, Kaye's going to be our Andy Rooney (only much cuter) and our Dorothy Parker (only nicer) and our Mark Twain (without the mustache.)"

    this is really flattering, I must say. But, did anyone else notice I'm the only one of the group who's still living . . . just saying.

  49. Kaye, I am so glad you're still living. The first books that I remember taking out of the library and devouring were some books by Bess Streeter Aldrich. Sort of women's literature on the prairie, and they always made me cry. Libraries are still my treasure box, even though I am running out of room here in my house. Welcome to the Reds, Kay, oh you of great spirit!

  50. Lois, yes, I loved those biographies! Dorothea Dix, and George Washington Carver...but our librarian would not let us count them on our "read to 100" book list. We read them anyway. And I found few in a used bookstore recently..snapped them right up.

    And yes, we were in Vermont at the Marlboro Music was lovely. But it was frustrating--I could read the blog--but couldn't add! So I'm i the car saying, oh, me too!

  51. Kaye, what a wonderful column! Congratulations to you--and to the Reds. What a win-win combination! You prompted many memories (including of course, the memory of mehitabel--what a surprise to see her picture!--who kept me, (I was, of course, archy the typing cockroach) company for 18 years.
    My earliest memory of library prowling and obsession was for the Andrew Lang Fairy Tale Books. They all had colors in their titles, starting with The Blue Fairy Tale Book. I remember how sad I was when I got to the metallic colors--gold and silver--and realized there were no more. They probably started my lifelong habit of making-believe... Once again, congratulations all around. xoxo Jude

  52. Kaye, what a wonderfully delicious sentimental post. It's nice to sit and reflect on how we fell in love with books.

    For me, I was 7, living in England then. I had to wear an itchy, gray (or 'grey' at the time) woolen uniform with tie and bowler hat for school. But that didnt matter. For the school was a wonderful Hogwart's kind of castle school with nooks and crannies...and a delightful library to hide in that hung over grand lawns. It came with deep, window benches that you could pull the curtains shut and hide in.

    And that sunny spot is where I fell in love with Aslan, the amazing lion from Narnia. And that wardrobe to another world forever changed me. Thanks again for the memory.

  53. Lil, I'm glad I am too!!! LOL!!! and don't you love books that make you cry?! If someone can write a book that can touch me that deeply I'm a fan for life!

    Jude, let's raise our glasses to the the lifelong habit of make-believe. 'tis a lovely one, indeed.

    The make believe life I REALLY wanted to live for a very long time was the life of Eloise. sigh. I really really wanted to be Eloise.

  54. oh, Donna, being a huge fan of hats, I think your uniform sounds adorable! The school certainly sounds wonderful and magical. I think you probably lived a very charmed childhood. And I agree - a visit to Narnia was life-changing. delightfully and deliciously life-changing.

  55. Hi, Kaye: Love the post and the pictures are great.Your jewelry in the photo with Harley intrigues me. How about a closeup on your own blog?

    My first book was a big beautiful book of Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry. I think. It's been a long time ago. A CHILD'S GARDEN OF VERSES, I think it was called.

    Except for the classics -- Charles Dickens, Shakespeare, Mark Twain and dear old King James and his version of the Bible -- and Michael Malone says they all have crime at their hearts -- I discovered mysteries when I was an old lady. The book that really hooked me was LYING IN WAIT by J.A. Jance.

    Too much about me. Back to you. Love your new spot here and love your take on everything that interests you. Carry on!

    Pat Browning

  56. Pat, Hey There! And I have for years been coveting the turquoise you're wearing in your picture!

    I'm a fan of all things sparkly. Jewelry is my biggest weakness (besides books). The silver bracelet is one I've been wearing since around 1971 or so. I bought it in Atlanta at a new, very small gallery in Peachtree Center called The Signature Shop, which grew to become a large gallery in Buckhead.

    That bracelet (or one very much like it) plays a rather important part in the novel I'm working on.

    The pearls were a gift from Don on my 40th birthday. A friend of ours who owns a travel agency was traveling to Hong Kong and picked those up for us while he was there. The only way we would have ever been able to afford a string of pearls like that. I love 'em to bits.

  57. Welcome - It has been so many decades that I cannot remember the first book I borrowed from our library. Ours was also brick with towering windows, the librarian knew your name and wrote it on the card when you checked a book out! Dee

  58. Hi Kaye,
    I tried to post this earlier by IPAD but it doesn't look like it took! (I seem to either double post or not post at all via IPAD)

    at any event, welcome to Jungle Red - we look forward to your thoughtful take on the world. And we can all relate to the book worm!

  59. Kaye this is wonderful. I will look forward to every first Sunday, and it won't be for Communion. Thank you Jungle Reds.

    I discovered the library when I was nine years old. Until then there was no library close enough to our house for me to visit.

    Unfortunate circumstance, however, brought me to a small town with the big library - and a library with a bookmobile that came to our school once every 2 weeks. The children would stand in line and, one at a time, climb into the bookmobile, where the librarian would suggest books we might like. That librarian, and the wonderful books she chose for me, were my true inspiration to read.

    One day our teacher asked me to go to the library and get some photographs on loan that related to our geography lesson. Mrs. Donahue told me how to get to the library, where to go once I got there, and what to ask for.

    When I climbed the stairs and walked through the doorway to the library, I was shocked by the sight of all the books on shelves. I'd not had a concept of such a thing previously. This experience revisited me when I started graduate school and stood at the bottom of the steps to Widener Library... life-changing.

    Bless the librarian. Bless the teacher. Thank you, Kaye.

  60. Pat Browning, you and I SO often like the same things. But I hadn't discovered Jance until recently--she's SO great!

  61. Oh, Lil! Bess Streeter Aldrich! A LANTERN IN HER HAND, SPRING CAME ON FOREVER, MISS BISHOP,THE LIEUTENANT'S LADY, SONG OF YEARS. I hadn't thought of those books in years. My grandmother (the minister's wife) used to have all of those, Gladys Tabor's, and the Grace Livingston Hill.

  62. What a lovely post and comments! I love this quote from Jorge Luis Borges: “I have always imagined that Paradise would be a kind of library.”

  63. Dee, hi - I remember the librarians writing our names down on the check-out cards. wow. I had totally forgotten that!

    Jan - hey there! I love my iPad but I have to admit it does sometimes let me down. It especially doesn't seem to like playing with Google. I'm awfully happy to be here and thank you, so much, for the invite!!

    Reine, Hi! Widener library. You know, the small school I went to was Brandywine College in Wilmington, DE on Concord Pike. Closer to Philly though than Wilmington, I think. Well, it's no longer Brandywine, but Widener's Law School. Small world, small world.

    Leslie, Hi!!! oh my - you've just pulled out one of my favorite quotes also, although I never ever remember who it's attributed to!

  64. Wonderful to read your essay here, Kaye! Loved your piece today.

    The first books I remember reading from our local library were all the Beatrix Potter's and Charlotte's Web. I had a whole set of Nancy Drew's at home that were holiday and birthday gifts and I really loved those. I recall reading many classics (Alice in Wonderland, Black Beauty, Wind in the Willows, et. al.) and was probably only 11 or so when I read The Diary of Anne Frank. I'd never been that moved by a book before.

    My mom tells me that from an early age I always had my nose in a book. When I was 12 I was reading James Bond! The latter, in large part, accounts for my addiction to the crime, mystery, thriller genre. Cheers, Annie C

  65. Welcome Kaye!

    Apparently the first book I loved "to death" was called "Santa Mouse". I "read" that book until all the pages fell out, according to my mom. She bought the book for me when I had my first child.

    Otherwise, "Jane-Emily" by Patricia Clapp is the book I bought when I got older. It was my first ghost story, and I checked it out of our school library over and over again. Then I bought it on Amazon as soon I was able. And again, read it over and over again.

    I was such a bookworm that I invited a friend over to read books with me. Mom had to kick us out of the house to get some fresh air. :)

  66. Annie, Hi! Oh, my. I remember the first time I read Anne Frank at the suggestion of an older cousin. That story, I think, contributed to who I am today.

  67. Lora, hi! I had to laugh! It may have been me you invited over to read. Well, I'm sure it wasn't, but it could have been and I would have loved it.

  68. In our small house, with one paycheck and five children, library books were much encouraged. We had a Disney Book (Song of the South?) and Dad had a collection of Robert Service poems as a memento of his WWII stint building roads in Alaska (and I have my own copy now, to remember Dad), and there was a set of encyclopedias -- but mostly we let the library store books for us, including all the Little House series. The library was one of the first places I recall with a/c also . . . lovely refuge!
    I remember my 9th grade teacher asking us to bring in a small sum to pay for a paperback poetry anthology (which I do believe contained some of "archy and mehitabel"). It was exciting to OWN the book, and almost impossible to believe that she meant it when she taught us to make notes in the margins -- write in books!! I still have trouble with that, preferring to write on Post-its to insert in the book.
    I used to share my college copy of Moby Dick with students, for the extra maps and illustrations in it, and enjoyed the fact that I had some marginal notes from so long ago, but I really wish I had that first poetry anthology . . .
    Welcome, and thanks for stirring good memories.

  69. Great post, Kaye! You made me really think. I believe the first books I can remember owning were a couple of the Babar ones-- my uncle had a ladies' clothing store in north Jersey, and he used to pick up odd lots at the flea market to resell, too. In one of the boxes in the back of his store I discovered Babar, Celeste, Zephyr and the Old Lady and was thrilled to be able to take them home with me!

  70. storytellermary:
    Writing in books . . . I have to agree, this is something I simply cannot do --- and I still cringe when others do. [Of course, I once had to explain to a class full of young readers why it was different when the author or the illustrator wrote his or her name in your book --- and I must admit that of course I treasure these signed books . . . .]

  71. Oh, Mary. I have this " thing" about notes in the margins. I love running across an old book that someone has scribbled notes in. I'm enchanted to find those notes. But I can't bring myself to do it. And yet, what would it matter, really? Sigh

  72. Neil, hey you! Our similar tastes in books and authors continue! What a treasure you found in your uncle's store. I adore Babar still.

  73. One of the delights of small country libraries was checking the borrowers card at the back of the book to see who had read this one before you. Remember? I'd almost always know one or two of the earlier readers.

  74. Oh Margaret, you are so right about that! When I went to graduate school back in Boston, I checked out a book that had last been checked out of the library in 1895. That was at once exciting and sad. The person who had checked it out lived in my "house," the oldest building of my grad school, no longer a dorm.

  75. I do remember that! And because Cambridge was a small town the chances of knowing some of the borrowers were high.

  76. OH, I LOVED seeing who'd read it before!

    Babar. Neil, we should talk. I had them all, and loved them. But now I think they are kind of weird...

  77. Annie C , me too! I SNEAKED James Bond and read it under the covers... :-)

  78. Fabulous post, Kaye! So glad you'll be a regular here. As a girl, I read Donna Parker at the library (along with all the mystery series). And I'm pleased to say that, now that I'm in my forties, I finally possess my own copies of two Donna Parker books. Donna Parker at Cherrydale and Mystery at Arawak.

  79. Donna Parker changed my life! We should talk about it some day.

    Night, everyone! xoxo to the amazing Kaye!

  80. Welcome Kaye! You're sure joining an amazing group. I always look forward to reading a little RED :)

  81. Kaye, darlin', I've been waiting for your debut here at the Reds, and was not disappointed. Good thing there's no law against being adorable and delightful. You'd be in big trouble.

    Talking about books from way back, I remember reading a collection of short stories by O. Henry in high school and was mesmerized. I'm not surprised and certainly not insulted when people say some of my stories are O. Henry-esque.

  82. Hi Kaye, welcome to Jungle Red! And, oh yes, how libraries have changed. The warmth and wood is gone, replaced by fluorescent lights and metal shelves. While there are some fabulous libraries being built today, none have the charm and character that the old one have.

  83. I'm glad to see Kaye here as well as on DorothyL. Just in case some of you don't know it and want to hear more from Kaye, she has a blog called Meanderings and Muses.

    I loved the Belleville Public Library (Illinois) when I was a child. I don't remember the first book I checked out, but I do remember a series of picture books about Swedish children: Flicka, Ricka,and Dicka. The university library where I worked has them in Swedish, which is fun.

    Later I became a librarian and because I studies foreign languages, academic libraries were a good fit. But I go to my public library too.

  84. Bobbi and Cindy and Terry and Gail - thank you for stopping by. Earl darlin - Hugs!!!!!!! This has been HUGE fun. I hope to see you all again next month!

  85. The picture of your home library looks just like the one I used to go to as a child before they built a new one. I was always a bookworm as a child, too, and except for ignoring the supper dishes with "just one more minute" my parents didn't mind. They were readers, too.

  86. I'm late to the party, but welcome, Kaye! I must have been a lot like you as a child... One of the earliest books I remember finding in the library and knowing I wanted a copy of was "Jessamy," a children's book about a girl who goes back in time. I adored that book; I checked it out several times before we moved out of state and away from that library. I've looked for it since; it was so popular about six years ago that used copies were selling online for more than $200, which was way out of my league. Fortunately for me, I just rechecked, and it's down in the $40 to $50 range. Time to start saving up!