I found Miss Marie!
In case some of my loyal readers have forgotten, in an early post, I told the story of my first expedition to the library in Philadelphia in the summer following the fourth grade. I got my first library card, and I joined the “Vacation Reading Club.” Miss Marie was the children’s librarian, and I had my first boyhood crush on her. Every summer – for about five years – I read ten books and wrote ten book reports. For this effort, my reward came in September, when Miss Marie visited my class to give out the certificates.
Then I lost touch with her, until one day in about 1985, I happened to be in another branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, and there she sat. We chatted for a few moments, but I had to hurry to class. When I went back for another visit, she had retired. In June of this year, I went back to that branch, and the children’s librarian remembered Miss Marie, and she thought she could find out where she lived.
Last week, I was back in Philly, and I drove to her retirement home. There she was hardly changed at all. We visited for about a half hour. She told me the story of her life, we reminisced about the Kensington Branch of the Library and the days of the Vacation Reading Club. I confessed my crush, and she laughed and blushed in that sweet, sweet way I remembered. The dinner bell rang, and I had to leave. I asked her if I could kiss her on the cheek, and she said, “Sure.” I bent down and thanked her for making me the reader and book lover I am today. Her eyes filled with tears, and she thanked me for going to so much trouble to talk to her. I had a difficult time holding back my own tears, and when I got out to my car, I could no longer help it.
The moral: don’t hesitate to say thanks, or I miss you, or I love you, and most of all, don’t hesitate to get that kiss.