I am the oldest of four, but before we were four we were three under ten months old. Yes, my mother had a set of twins exactly ten months after I was born. My house was very loud, very little privacy and since I was the oldest, I was always being disturbed to help.
|Elmhurst Branch of the Queens Library|
So as soon as I was old enough I escaped to one of two places, the library or church. Now I was not all that scholarly or holy, but it was quiet in those places. In the library reading was an acceptable activity. The library smelled like books and knowledge. I loved to read and would bring home as many books as I could carry. I remember being so excited when I was able to get a junior library card and then an adult one. We also watched movies on Saturday mornings in the basement, those reel to reel movies that had to be changed in the middle of the show. I can still hear that clacking noise the film made against the reel when it it got to the end of the film.
|St. Adalbert Catholic Church in Elmhurst, NY|
In Church I would willingly dust the pews and take care of the candles, taking the tea lights out of the small votive holders and putting in fresh ones. The smell of candle wax made church smell holy and peaceful, somewhat mysterious. We would dust the statues too and sometimes put flowers on the altar. Back then, girls were not altar servers so I thought I was oh so special to be allowed up there.
Today I still like the library and church. I am taken aback if someone tells me they don’t have a library card. How does one not go to the library? I am blessed to work at a parish where the church has real wax candles in it, so going into the church building, especially when no one else is there has an instant calming effect on me. Just breathing in that scent for a few moments before going about whatever business I need to do there is like a prayer.
The library and the Church, where would I be without them?