Mother and the Dewey Decimal System

Having just returned from my public library, I am reminded once again how much Mother hated the idea of borrowing books. Ironic in a way. She loved to read, albeit her choices of “literature” were mostly soft core porn and trash exemplified. And she loved the concept of getting “something for nothing.”

So you would think she would love getting her hands on tons of material for free.

Cluttered HouseNot our mother. She wanted to own them and never wished to return them. The accumulation of books certainly added to the clutter which she apparently enjoyed. If only the television show “Hoarders” had been around during Mother’s time, she likely would have been a recurring featured personality on the show.

To the best of my knowledge, decorating with paperback books was never considered trendy. However, if it had become fashionable, Mother would have set the bar very high. Yet one more instance where the word “bar” was relevant to Mother’s lifestyle.

Library CardOnce she arrived in Iowa, I signed her up for a library card in her little city. After doing so, I took her to the library one time and quickly realized that she was not public library material. First, she was very hard on the books. The borrowed materials would become coated with a film of cigarette smoke and ashes, the periodic wine stain, elements of food items she had “cooked”, and various other unknown smudges that only CSI could accurately identify.

Second, she would often actually lose the books. And, you guessed it, in her mind that was never her fault. She would begin with,

You know where you put those books. How would I know where they are? You were the one that insisted I would love checking out materials from the library. And you’re the one who hid them from me!

Never one to mince words, by the time you finally located the books (if you were lucky enough to find them amongst all the flotsam and jetsam in her domicile), she insisted that since you were the one borrowing them, therefore you should be responsible for the fines.

Her first trip to the public library was also her last visit to the public library in Iowa. I never suggested it as an activity again. As much as my sister and I love the library, Mother detested it. Pondering her strange and bizarre thought processes can only lead you to the conclusion that she had more than one screw loose. More like a whole toolbox full!

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