As a Grades 7-8 library assistant

So very long ago

Because it was so very long ago, I do not recall why or how I had earned this privilege.
I recall learning how to repair, catalogue and sign out books in the basement of our school. I have a vivid picture in my memory of being seated behind a table stamping the date on cards as students borrowed books. In this area of our city dads worked as labourers and mom’s stayed home, so perhaps this was the only access to books many of us had.
One memory stands out when one of the most handsome boys in the class, Gene, said to the person sitting next to me, while pointing at me, “She knows so much more than she lets on.”
I was surprised and puzzled.
That summer between Grades 8 and 9, Gene drowned swimming in one of the Saskatchewan Qu’Appelle lakes. His thirteen-year-old life stopped.
As a thirteen-year-old girl who was considered wise by this boy, Gene was the first death I experienced of a classmate.

One more memory about the library. Our Grade 8 teacher instructed us not to talk on a return trip from the library. Of course, in the stair well voices echoed. When we returned to the classroom, our teacher asked us who talked. I knew I had whispered to my friend. I raised my hand. It was my first and only time, I held out my hands for that thick rubber strap as it descended with a smack. I wish I had learned that owning up to the truth isn’t always necessary.




Image by <a href=”″>Viktor Von</a> from <a href=”″>Pixabay</a>

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