Today I had to get a new library card.
One would not think that would be an emotional event.
However, I have had a library card from the Redford Township District Library since I was six years old. That means I was a library patron for over 50 years.
But today, I had to relinquish my Redford Library card and get a new one for the Northville District Library, here in my new town.
I’ve been dreading this, with the dread that only a sentimental book lover could understand. I spent countless hours in the Redford Library. It was my hangout in the summers, where I gleefully participated in the summer reading programs. It was the first place I drove solo when I got my drivers license. (I know, I’m a geek.) And then when my son was little, he and I would take frequent trips to the library on our bikes, usually stopping at Donutown for libations on the way back.
So more than just bookish memories were associated with my library card, although there were certainly plenty of those too. The Redford Library was the place I discovered the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, and Madeleine L’Engle’s work for readers of all ages. It was the place I could always find the best new releases, and, in recent years, was able to take full advantage of their computerized hold services to make sure I got them immediately.
One of the things I’ve been most surprised at during this moving process and the inevitable culling of possession it has entailed, is the things that mean the most to me. They often were not the most expensive items in the house – the crystal serving pieces or the lace tablecloths. What I really hated to part with were things like the scratched pyrex bowls I used to stir up brownie and cookie batter or the stainless steel cutlery we ate from every day for 37 years. The worn flannel blankets my grandmother used when she was in a nursing home. The throw pillows on my bed that I propped my head on to read in the morning.
The library card I’ve used ever since I learned to read.
A new home demands new things, and I have enjoyed gathering bright, shiny new feathers for this little nest. But there is suddenly a tiny whole in my heart for some of those well-used, well-loved pieces of daily living that were part of of my old life. And I suspect there always will be.