For many of you, November means autumn, or maybe even winter and snow. It may mean a warmer wardrobe or planning a holiday vacation.
For me, November means fuzzy socks, cozy jammies and books and, because mid-November marks the anniversary of her death, November takes my mind to my mom.
My mom was born in 1942; she grew up deprived of what many of us take for granted. Specifically, she grew up without enough money to comfortably get by. She didn’t have enough food to keep the hunger pains at bay. She didn’t have access to healthcare and specifically mental healthcare. She didn’t have the luxury of a social life and healthy support groups. And she had little to no opportunities knocking at her door.
But, goodness, my mom had a lively spirit and she had access to the local library! This one, as a matter of fact, in Guthrie, Oklahoma. 🙂
As the folklore goes, my mom went to this library to see the world. She went to this library to get away. And she went to this library because it helped her imagine a better life.
The library…or rather, reading, changed my mother’s life.
Within the peace of a library, she excelled in nursing school.
A simple little library card motivated and helped her become a better nurse.
Libraries offered her access to information so she could better her physical and mental health.
Posters in a library intrigued her to travel overseas to work.
A library offered religion, art and poetry, which she used to settle her mind and nourish her soul.
Libraries…they were for years my mom’s vehicle to reading, my mom’s avenue for personal and professional development.
Reading shaped my mom’s life…fiction, non-fiction, biographies, encyclopedias, magazines, newspapers, almanacs…the library carried them all.
My mom passed away on November 11, 1991…no doubt while reading a book from the library. I am thinking about her today, and sharing a bit of her with you, because I think we can learn a lot from her little story.
Reading, reading, reading.
Reading led my mom to learning, imagining, believing, hoping and doing.
Reading is a powerful thing.
Reading lifted this dirt poor, mentally ill, suicidal young woman and reading successfully carried her through school, single parenthood, and an incredible career.
Through a hundred little libraries and because of reading, my mom led an extraordinary life.