I posted an essay several months back about the New Mexico State Library Bookmobile (www.nmstatelibrary.org). The feedback was great – everyone who knows what it is has their own bookmobile story. My first college roommate, Claire Hudson from House, said she remembered exactly how the bookmobile smelled on those hot summer afternoons. My friend Phyllis said she could remember her first bookmobile book – it was “Where the Red Fern Grows,” and she refused to take it back for two months (Which is no big deal at the bookmobile. Knowing that you probably live up to 25 miles from town, they understand that you might not get back each time they roll into town.).
Today I was lucky enough to be in town when the bookmobile showed up. It wasn’t on my agenda, but good experiences generally aren’t agenda items. I parked in front of the Logan Civic Center and went in to say hi and find a few seedy summer novels. And to escape the heat, which is a perfect reason to escape into the bookmobile. Even in 1969, the refrigerated air was a welcome relief on hot New Mexico summer afternoons.
My best pals Angie Medrow and Diane Hines were there, and little Jordan Hines was sitting on the built-in stool looking at books. “Here’s your bookmobile card,” her mother said, “don’t lose it.” She turned to me. “She loves scary books. This one’ll keep her up all night.”
I looked at Jordan’s book. “You know,” I told her, “you have to get more than one. It’s the bookmobile. They won’t be back for a month.”
But Jordan chose only one book. Today she received her very first bookmobile card and checked out her very first bookmobile book. It seemed like a big adventure to me. I’m sure if she heard me say that, she’d roll her eyes. But I also hope she doesn’t forget it.
After I chose all my books, I went into the civic center where she was waiting for my friend Angie Medrow to start her dance class. “So whadja get?” she asked, eyeing my grocery sack of books.
“You really want to know?” I asked. She nodded, and I sat down on the floor beside her and took all my books out of the bag. It was a wealth of books to keep me company for the next month, and I tried to describe every one of them to my third grade friend.
“I’m getting more next time,” she said and smiled. And I know she will.