I Never Thanked Them

img_1003    Today I met a woman about my age.  She told me how many times her children thanked her for moving to America to give them opportunities they would not have had in their small town, which she characterized as small, unsafe, lots of guns, lots of drug dealers.  She raised five children here in America, all in college or college graduates.  And now it is her turn, she said, to go to school.

I was so bitter and angry growing up I never thanked my parents for anything, not even the now obvious sacrifices they made so we children could go to good schools.  I was too busy feeling like a victim to appreciate they sacrificed a lot–I didn’t see it at all.

As I walked in the woods this afternoon, I was full of regret.

Is it possible to thank the dead?

All I could think to do was embrace the beauty around me, the trees, wildflowers, gorgeous sky and say thank you, Mom and Dad, I wish I had thanked you while you were alive.

I hope my life itself and my embracing of literacy have shown my appreciation, but I doubt it.  I took it as my due while I tried to distance myself from my family, my neighborhood, and especially my father.

Thank you, Mom and Dad.  I wish I had told you that while you were alive.  While you were far from perfect and even destructive at times, I acknowledge you made big sacrifices so we could have a better life.

How I wish I had told them that while they were alive– thank you for the sacrifices you made so we could have a better life.  No, that’s not good enough.

Thank you for helping me have a good life.

Valuable Resources–Support Public Libraries!

LIBRARY      Today I met my new student at the public library nearest to where she lived.  I had never been there before, so didn’t know what to expect.

We met just when the library opened, on a work day, thinking NO ONE would be there.

How wrong we were!  The parking lot was FULL fifteen minutes before the library opened; young parents were there with their children; senior citizens were waiting to get in and use the computers; job seekers were waiting to use the resources there.  How did I know this?  I observe people and listen well.  Furthermore, once the library opened I saw where they went and what they were doing.

When I was in graduate school the first time, I worked at a local library. It was one of my favorite jobs ever.  That library was so busy with job seekers, senior citizens, students, parents, children–extremely busy.  I wondered if a public library would be so busy anymore, with people using the internet at home.

That question has been answered.

This library?  Study rooms.  Glass walls and ceilings to let in natural light.  Vending machines with coffee and snacks.  Books, books, books and so many other materials.

This is what I noticed in my short time there.

And the hours? This library is open 72 hours a week!

Not all public libraries are so fortunate, so beautiful, so accessible.  Which is a shame, since it appears people need and use their public libraries for a variety of purposes. This library is not in a wealthy area, but it is in an area that supports its library and voted a few years ago to increase their own taxes to update and improve the library. This town also has some factories which pay taxes, so they are indeed fortunate to be able to afford this great library.

Lesson learned today? Support your local public libraries, America! They are a great investment.

Thanks for reading.