Friday, May 31, 2013

Walking the Woods with Thoreau

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the May 31, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When I decided to become a librarian, I had already spent the first half of my life raising my family of daughters.  I had just turned 47 when I returned to graduate school in library science.  It was a natural reinvention of my life after having spent years reading to my children and volunteering in their school libraries.  After homeschooling one of my daughters, and serving as home librarian, I slipped effortlessly into the role of children’s librarianship.

I was wise to subscribe to these words attributed to Confucius (551-479 BC): Find a job that you love and you’ll never work a day in your life. (A friend of mine left his career as a certified public accountant because he wanted to love his job as much as I loved mine. He is a librarian today, working as a public library director in New York State.)

A few of my favorite books published during the years I worked as a children’s librarian were the unusually illustrated picture books known as the Henry Books by D.B. Johnson. In them, Johnson whimsically make sense of some of the complicated, yet paradoxically simple philosophies of New England’s Henry David Thoreau.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Living Off The Land

Diane Phillips is the Technical Services Librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood. Read the published version of her column in the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin on May 24, 2013.

I’m about to embark on a new venture.  I just purchased a share in a community farm.  In my opinion, there’s nothing better than sitting down to a meal prepared with fresh, locally grown vegetables.  It reminds me of my childhood.  My grandmother used to have the best garden that yielded bushels of green beans, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes, and so on.  From the early summer to early fall, my family had homegrown vegetables.  I’ve tried my hand at gardening in the past, and I learned that I don’t have the knack for it.  I forget to water it and weed it.  I don’t provide adequate protection to keep out our resident rabbit and neighborhood woodchuck.  Because of my ineptitude at living off my land, I made do with the offerings at the local grocery store.  I’ve tried to make sure to buy organically grown fruits and vegetables to avoid the genetically engineered or pesticide-laden products.  It just wasn’t the same as that fresh-picked taste that I remember from my grandmother’s garden.  I figured I’d have to make do with what I could buy since I clearly didn’t get the gardening gene from my gram.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Sweetness of Memory, or the Icing on the Cake

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the May 17, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

As my 61st birthday raced past me this year, I was reminded of the occasion of my 8th birthday. That spring, my mother planned a butterfly birthday for me. This special day, as all my birthdays were, included a handmade dress. Colorful butterflies adorned the yellow polished cotton. The dress had a sash that was tied crisply at the back of the waist and its short-sleeves were perfect the California weather in May. That day, I most certainly wore turned-down lace-trimmed socks and my black, patent-leather Mary Janes.

Living in the college town of Berkeley, California was one of my childhood’s treasured experiences. School friends from my local public elementary school were comprised from nationalities across the world. Some were daughters of graduate students or professors. Others had parents who were missionaries and scientists. More were from families like mine with fathers in blue-color jobs and mothers who stayed at home. In short, my friends that year were as varied as the multicolored butterflies on that birthday dress.

In addition to my dress, there were gifts wrapped in butterfly paper, butterfly decorations and an unforgettable homemade birthday cake.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mothers Across the Ages - by Norma Logan

Norma Logan is the Literacy Coordinator at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read the published version of Norma's column in the May 10, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Mother’s Day is right around the corner with the promise of flowers, warm sunny days and the time to reflect on the state of being that the holiday celebrates.  In reality, motherhood is a rollercoaster ride of joy, fear, hope, anticipation, energy and weariness.   

American society and culture have changed over the years, and life has, in many ways, become more complicated.  However, the basic emotional ties of mothers to their sons and daughter,s I believe, are ageless.

Since my daughter became a mother four years ago, I have watched her and my grandson, remembering some things and not remembering others.  I have been careful about giving her advice except, as always the educator, to tell her that it is never too early to read to him. I look for books that I can recommend to her from the professionals, much like I gravitated to the Dr. Spock books in the 70’s.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The Pattern in My Family's Glass

Read the published version of Library Director Charlotte Canelli's column in the May 3, 2013 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When I was a very young child, my mother whisked my brother and me from Massachusetts to a brand-new life on the Northern California coast. About a month later, a moving van deposited our family’s modest trove of clothing, pastimes and treasures into our new home in Berkeley. As a little girl, I was much more absorbed in my own sorely-missed belongings and I hardly noticed my mother unwrapping her own treasures, tucking them into cabinets and closets.

Nevertheless, over the years, I became keenly acquainted with most of these family heirlooms. The Taft Family Revolutionary War sword and the Bruce Family Civil War medals were displayed with much pride. My great-grandmother’s hand-sewn quilt lay in a chest wrapped in tissue. Six antique glass goblets and a matching pitcher sat front and center in a china cabinet, rarely used.

I admit those glasses never impressed me much. They were stout and thick and bore lines up the stems. Stored in a cabinet, the sunlight never emphasized the fine honeycomb pattern that covered their bowls.