Look it up, Mary

by Kim on October 29, 2009

My Mom couldn’t stand to have a question and not have the answer to it. Our small farm house had two sets of encyclopedias when I was growing up. We couldn’t afford the World Book from the salesman that came by, but my resourceful father found a Funk and Wagnall’s set at a garage sale. It was the subject of many jokes on Laugh-In, but in our household it was a prized possession The set was only 5 years old and had fairly recent information. Through the years, we acquired a used set of Encyclopedia Britannica as well. It was my mother’s treasure to have access to those books and, more importantly, the information contained on those pages.

My grandfather was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse (see The Story Part of Family History)¬† and he had the strong belief that education could change circumstances for people. They had no electricity in their household, so each night my mother, her brothers and her father would read by lamp light until bedtime. When they didn’t have resources for food, they somehow found a book to read. Perhaps my mother’s thirst for knowledge was part of my grandfather’s legacy.

Scan Photos

Library Contest Winner in First Grade - My essay about my favorite book

As a child, we frequented the library often. They knew us by first name there. All 5 of us would spend an hour picking out our best guess of a new favorite book. I knew how to use the card catalog many years before my peers. It contained the key to finding the next great book. Mom would leave us in the children’s section sometimes so that she could find books that interested her, mostly historical fiction. She actually read history textbooks. We all marched out of the library with a stack of books taller than we were. It was 30 miles to our library, so my mother arranged for the county bookmobile¬† – a large RV equipped with books – to park in our driveway twice a month. Essentially our books came to us. If we called the library, they would send books that we requested to our stop. My family was their best customer, for sure.

VHS to DVDs, Family Memories

Library contest winner for essay on Favorite Book - 1st Grade

I still surround myself with books, both fiction and non-fiction. They fill my shelves with great reading material, but they also provide comfort of my memories from my childhood. My night stand is filled with my next 15 books to read. It is the best pleasure to read in bed and devouring the story contained in those books.

My sister has 4 children and has received a good number of “Why?” questions from her children. She answers them with a very simple statement. She says to them, “Look it up, Mary.”, meaning take after your Grandmother Mary and research it yourself. My nieces and nephew find their answers on the internet. My mother would have loved Google. But then maybe she wouldn’t have had the love affair with books that she enjoyed all her life. Look that up in your Funk and Wagnalls.

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