Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Neighbours Bookcase

Our neighbours growing up had a big bookcase in their hallway. Encyclopaedias mostly it seemed to me but that's what was on the lower levels. I couldn't reach much higher and who puts encyclopaedia sets anywhere but the bottom shelf ? That stuff is heavy and you might as well sit on the floor to get them out and leaf through them.
    The back doors between our houses were unlocked during the day. We shared a back balcony and yard and it seemed we were always over there or they over at our place. The moms had coffee together, Maxwell House, and the dads worked together in a shared business downtown. I liked hanging out with the ladies as a kid. They take an interest in you or simply pull you close and continue talking. The men always like to say that you'll learn something if you listen to them argue about politics or whatever they are talking about, usually anything that is alien or boring to a child. The men are wrong. A kid will not learn anything listening to them get heated up. A kid will learn to just hang out with the ladies and be a part of it all, no strings attached. They'll even offer you something to eat or drink.
    It was something to have another set of adults to consult about homework. Our neighbours were more educated than my folks. They had a bookcase. We had books here and there and of course puzzle and gossip magazines but nothing much else before I was a teenager and started bringing them home on my own. Beat up second hand copies of Call It Sleep or precious poetry chapbooks long forgotten by everyone else.
    Even as a kid I would order books from Scholastic or check them out from our school library. Ramona The Brave.
    I loved sitting on the carpet in front of the neighbours bookcase and just stare at the spines. I wish I could remember what other books they had beside the encyclopaedia sets. I wish I could see it now.
    I don't get tired of staring at bookcases.