“I spent a lot of time in the library at school, that’s where the smart girls were.” I wrote that for one of my books, but it’s true. I spent a lot of time in a lot of libraries, and sat with a lot of smart girls, mostly at different tables.
Not so much in grade school, I stayed clear of girls then, and the librarian was a big mean nun, Sister Mary Something.
But, by Jr-Hi there was a blonde named Alice who often sat next to me in classes because our last name initials were the same. And, boy, was she ever smart. I was kinda smart, so we were in a bunch of the same classes. She was also pretty. I was nervous. Alice knew everything the teachers asked, and the teachers knew she knew all the answers so they stopped calling on her. They started calling on me!
This continued in HS, and I still never spoke to Alice, except “Hi,” or ” Scuse me.” I hung out in the library, because I thought that’s where the smart girls would be, and sure enough, I’d see her there frequently. And then, one day (it seemed that sudden) I manned up and began initiating conversations with her. Eventually, she took part. Later we would meet in the library after school to do homework. Later we would meet other kids at the Rexall after school for cherry cokes.
Then we graduated and I never saw Alice again until our twentieth HS reunion, and she may have still been smart, but was not still pretty.
However, in the meantime, there was college.
There was a girl I liked, but she wasn’t in any of my classes. Naturally, I looked for her at the snack bar, dining hall, and in the library. I kidded her about drinking tea, and she was amused when I turned my cake upside down because the icing was too sweet. I bugged her in the library, especially in the library, because there was not a ton of people around, annoying her at first, mostly about her being left-handed, or her long auburn hair and and abundant freckles. We soon were laughing often and loud enough to get thrown out. More than once. The first time was when I drew a picture of her with just a few short hairs sticking out of a bald head with predominant freckles and big ears with big holes and dangling rubber chicken earrings. That was because she wanted to get a short haircut and her ears pierced. I wasn’t sure I’d like her that way. She didn’t do it, not until a long time later.
By then we had discovered the grass behind the library.
Not right behind the building, but past some trees, up a small hill, and between some other pine trees. Standing at our spot we could see the library, but not if we were lying in the grass. The first time was for a walk, to get some air, since we had been studying seriously for a couple of hours straight. I was a Phys Ed major so I was able to help her out with her nursing courses. I think she was smarter than she let on so that I would help with the anatomy stuff. We often brought a blanket with our books to our spot in the grass up the small hill and studied more there than in the library. Weather permitting.
We went to our grass spot several times with no book or blanket, just to sit and talk during tough times, or to walk silently hand-in-hand at odd times. Back of the library, turn right. Where have you been? At the library.
While I was a public school teacher I spent a lot of time in the library. Working, planning classes. I noticed smart girls there. And smart boys, too. I knew what was going on. The boys were flirting, I mean studying, with Alices and future nurses. I would smile and secretly wish them luck, just a bit of the luck I had.
That was many years ago and I am still holding on to my luck, my nurse, my wife.
Mike Bove is an ex-teacher and coach, and also a retired postman from New England. He reads a lot of mysteries from the library or on his kindle and even wrote a couple of Bruce DelReno Mysteries,WillowTree and Stinger Maguire . He now lives in Cottonwood with his wife and golden retriever.