I lived in a small town of fewer than 5,000 people and the lack of drama or excitement in my life had me yearning for some kind of outlet. As I pedaled my banana seat bike down the streets of my small town, I would imagine what book I would check out and which place would it take me today. To the watery streets of Venice or the hot beaches in California where everyday looked like an episode of the 70's T.V. show "Chips." I would spend hours walking up and down the aisles touching each book gently as I skimmed their titles, textures and smells.
The library was a world of mystery, romance, suspense, and more all lined up in neat rows of volumes, that were mine for the taking. Well, mine at least for the two weeks the library loaned it to me. In my youth I rode each day to the library to satisfy the craving that every book lover in the world recognizes in the pit of your stomach and in the spinning of your mind. The need to explore without actually having to fight that dangerous crocodile or cross the raging river below.
The library opened up my mind to just how incredible peoples imaginations could become. It opened my eyes to where a book could take me, right there in the couch section of Tecumseh Public Library. It also had me in awe at not only their imagainations but their realitys as well. What one young boy from the wrong side of the tracks could do with his life, even when life was throwing him every obstacle it could in his way, was unbelievable.
Yet, in these pages I saw first hand his strength of character and his fortitude in a time of hopelessness. As I got older and read more and more, these books became filmstrips in my mind. Slowly ticking down through each frame and opening my eyes to such laughter, wonder and honesty that a book became much more important than a movie. A movie throws it all out there, you do not need to imagine or set a scene up in your head. But in a book your forced to create the illusion and follow it in your mind, just like a filmstrip.
The library was my sanctuary, my sanity and my salvation. The ability to walk in and walk out with your arms wrapped around those books, like they were long lost friends. That is what they were my friends, and we continue this friendship today in the very same building it started in. Yet instead of the banana seat bike, I pull up in the grocery getter and introduce the next generation of readers to this exciting place, my kids.