Over the years, I’ve come to realize that one of the greatest benefits of growing up in a town too small to have a stop light is the necessity to cultivate strong imaginations. It’s forced upon us children of the corn in a “survival of the fittest” sort of way; one must develop a sense of imagination, heightened to almost superhero-like qualities, or you’ll go crazy from lack of things to do. Because Hannah and I have been together since birth, we teamed up against the threat of boredom more often than not. Some of our favorite “games” included chucking rocks across the driveway at the unsavory kids next door, pressing our thumb prints & initials (and often some form of “BFFS”) into the slightly melted pools of tar along Jefferson St, and making menus and clipart-adorned name tags for our imaginary restaurant, “Magnolias and Ivy.” (P.S. I’d like to thank Hannah’s mom, Cindy, for being our one and only customer that time she ordered sandwiches for lunch. Words cannot express how excited we were.)
One of our favorite “games” to play, however, can only be looked back upon as foreshadowing of our upcoming bookish behavior. We called it simply “playing library.” Both our families had accumulated large personal libraries, largely consisting of Dr. Seuss’s entire collected works, and so Hannah and I stuck a post-it in the back of each and every book and used an ink pad and a perfectly rounded, never been used pencil eraser to record “check outs.” Everything had to be checked out; recipe books, instruction manuals, everything. “The library is a free service, people! We just need to stamp the book so we know it’s checked out! And don’t forget to return it to the library within 10 minutes.” Strict from the very beginning.
This unusual past time has since captivated interviewers when Hannah and I both applied for librarian job listings. Apparently that particular game is rare. Who knew?