Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Library time.

Our library uses an auto-dialer when people have requested materials, so from time to time the phone will ring and ask for "MARESSA" in its robot voice. (I don't know what's wrong with its i's. They're terrible.) This time it noted that I needed to get to the library to pick up these materials "before February 1."

That is, before Grandpa's birthday.

And I had to smile, because getting to the library is exactly the sort of thing Grandpa would want me to do for his birthday. I can't count the number of times we went to the library together when I was little, which is more remarkable given that we lived several hundred miles apart. The Brooklyn Park library was very modern then, in the 1980s: it had been redecorated in bright primary colors, with royal blue tile and royal blue squodgy chairs in the children's section. It was in the same building as some other county stuff, and I remember walking into the building and turning to go to the library and thinking how nice it was that the judges and the lawyers and the juries and the people on trial could all go to the library after to get books and calm down if they were stressed out or upset by the verdict or the process. And I thought they should put good big libraries in more buildings, hospitals and office buildings and things, and people would be better for it, happier and calmer and quieter. I don't think I ever shared this thought with Grandpa, because I didn't need to, because it was too obvious that we would be in agreement on this.

There was never any question whether Grandpa would turn me loose in the children's section. He had his own books to attend to, and we both would have regarded anyone with scorn who wasn't sure whether I could handle myself in a library without help. And I would pick my books and settle into one of the squodgy blue chairs, and eventually Grandpa would come round and see if I was ready, and then we'd stop off at White Castle for him to get coffee and me to get hot chocolate, if it was winter, or at Dairy Queen for him to get a chocolate malt and me to get a banana-Heath bar blizzard if it was summer.

Later, when he and Grandma had moved down to Omaha where the folks and I were living at the time, he would take me to the downtown library or the university library if I needed to do research for a school project or something and the local library wouldn't do. Grandpa was very clear on "or something" having a broad interpretation for a girl who needed to look into things the school wasn't much interested in, because he was interested in things the school wasn't much interested in, too. And sometimes on the way home from that we'd stop in at Pageturners used bookstore on Dodge Street and see what they had there and go next door to the Cris Rexall drugstore to have chocolate malts, both of us, at the soda fountain. Mostly I went to the drugstore for malts with my friends while bookstoring, but sometimes with Grandpa too, on the way back from the library.

Later still, he would call me up and tell me that he'd been to the Ralston Public Library to see greykev--he started going there instead of Millard Branch because of Kev--and after that he'd call to tell me that he'd been to the Ralston Public and they sure did miss greykev around there now that he was off to school. (This is partly pure truth and partly Scandosotan Male for, "I sure do miss greykev around here now that he's off to school.")

So yes, o library autodialer, I can make sure to get my library books by Grandpa's birthday. No problem.

The thing about my relationship with my grandpa is that I feel like it would take more effort not to do things to remember and honor him. The things to do to remember and honor him are so thick on the ground around here.
Tags: bookses precious, grandpa, grief sucks

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