I finally had a breakthrough about our Fifth Blogiversary Contest. I didn’t want it to be about knitting slipcovers for chairs. I may be singleminded in my enthusiasms, but I do realize that the appeal of knitting upholstery is not yet universal. I will bring people to this wonderland, one by one, but not in a day. (By the way, my upholstery-knitting chums, I have a CHART for my denim slipcover and I’m almost done with my WIP deck-clearing.)
The contest idea hit me when I was writing in my Abigail Thomas Notebook. You don’t have an Abigail Thomas Notebook? Well, if you read her book Thinking About Memoir, you may find it hard not to start one, and then you would see how much effort it takes to keep a notebook. I thought it would be easy but I’m finding it hard not to think, “Well THAT is sure a stupid thing to write in a notebook,” and cross it out immediately.
Today I wrote in my notebook, “Bookmobile.” Something I was reading jogged a sweet old memory of the Omaha Public Library’s summer bookmobile program circa 1967. Near the end of the school year, our teacher told us about the bookmobile’s schedule, and told us that if we read 10 books over the course of the summer, we would receive a Certificate in September.
To this day, I will pretty much kill for a Certificate.
And 10 books over the course of a summer? That’s nothing for a girl who had to be threatened with punishment to leave the rollaway bed on Grandma’s front porch and GO PLAY OUTSIDE for pity’s sake. The only challenge to the thing was getting to the Bookmobile to get the documentation necessary for the Certificate.
The Bookmobile came once a week to the Shaver’s grocery store parking lot. Shaver’s was one of those not-so-super markets that died in the 70s, when people started driving further for luxuries like actual produce and wide aisles. It was a friendly, if dank and dimly lit place. They had an awesome newstand with Tiger Beat magazines, and one of the cashiers was a friend of my mom’s, which made me feel like a celebrity when I was checking out and she said hi. All the cashiers were moms. They had memorable coiffures. But back to the Bookmobile.
I rode my bike (a metallic blue Schwinn Sting-Ray with sparkly banana seat–thankyouUncleJohn FOREVER) to the Bookmobile every week. I took a shortcut on a dirt road. And if you think this scene can’t get any more wholesome and all-American, please know that at this time, I wore seersucker short sets with matching sleeveless tops. Appliqued fruit was standard. My haircut was known as the Pixie, my eyeglasses were always askew if not taped, and I had a tendency to breathe through my mouth. (In other words, I was adorable.) The Bookmobile was old (even then) and green, and inside it smelled like the back of your car, Ann, when filled with Judith Krantz novels.
But what about the contest? The contest will be a drawing for copies of our new book ( a review–I do believe it’s the first– and a preorder deal, over at the Knitter’s Bookshelf) when it comes out in September. To enter, please leave a comment to this post no later than noon (EST) on Friday, July 25, with at least 2 of these 3 things:
1. A Bookmobile memory if you have one.
2. The title of a favorite chapter book from your childhood or your child’s childhood.
3. The title of a book you plan to read before the end of the summer of 2008.
There will be 10 winners, mostly randomly drawn but a couple will win on the basis of their Bookmobile memory inducing laughter, tears, or best of all, laughter-through-tears, Dolly Parton’s favorite emotion. (Cf. Steel Magnolias.)
Excuse me, I have to go see if eBay has any metallic blue Sting-Rays. Then I’m going to read Dr. Dolittle on the closest thing I can find to a rollaway bed.
P.S. The photos are from the Harris County (Mississippi) Library System. They are dated 1953, but the Bookmobile is about the same vintage as the one I remember from the late 60s.