I was very fortunate to grow up in Daybrook, WV, a small community that in many ways truly resembles Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. Everyone knew everyone. People looked out for one another. Mom used to say she never worried about me getting into trouble because if I did, the news would reach her before I would. There was an amazing grapevine in that community. Mayberry had Sarah, the telephone operator; we had Ma’m Spraggs, Lexie, and Drussie. They worked the “switch”, which was right across the road from the house I grew up in. There were two rooms in that switch, the working area and a bedroom for whoever worked the night shift. The bathroom was a separate entity; yes, they had an outhouse. And there was a special emergency ring” that made older women young again as they sprinted to find out why the ambulance went by or if there was an accident at the mines. We eventually got rotary phones when I was about 10 or 11. The phone book had already been published that year, so along with our shiny new phones, we got a single piece of oak tag that listed every family in the community along with their new phone numbers.
There wasn’t a local library when I was growing up, but there were always books. It was just Mom and me, and she worked hard to provide for us. Sometimes I think about how she must have felt when I would wave that Weekly Reader order form around with almost everything circled as a “need”. And when we went to town I would usually come home with a new Nancy Drew or some other treasure. Books were valued. I grew up living “Sing, Talk, Read, Write, Play”. We lived next door to my Gran and Pap. Pap sang, and Gran read book after book with such expression. She was a natural storyteller. Any good I do at all in my job is because of them. What wonderful role models they were.
About a month after I turned 13 (and he had been 16 for all of 3 days), I met a boy on a bridge on Honey Run while spending the weekend with my cousin. That boy and I celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary this year. He would tell you he knew then, but however unromantic this may sound, I had no clue at that time. Paul Donaldson has been called “Poor Paul” so many times that I have threatened to have it embroidered on his shirts. God bless him, he has put up with a lot of craziness. You may have seen him helping out at different library events. Farmer Paul has been a driving force (literally, as in driving the hay wagon) at many fall library programs. We have three grown children, Kilee, Benjamin, and Kelsey. Kilee recently started working in Youth Services at the Main Library. She tells me I don’t have to tell everyone, but yes, yes I do.
My family attended so many library events over the years, starting at Florence when it was still the only library in Boone County. We loved “Miss Betsy”. I didn’t know then I would someday work with her. This really is my dream job. I’ve worked in Youth Services at Scheben for 12 years, which is hard for me to believe! Currently I share storytime with our Tiny Tots (18 months to 2 ½ years) and have a weekly Stories with Art program for ages 3-6 years. I help plan special preschool programs, and I visit two Boone County Schools preschool classrooms each month. I love working with our customers, and I hope everyone who visits the library leaves a little happier than they came.
I’ve worked with a lot of great people, enjoyed learning from them, and hope to be able to keep up with the little guys and be here for at least a few more years. Someday in the future, I want a back porch where I can hang Pap’s old porch swing and share the stories and songs I learned there with some special little Wildcats. Maybe take an occasional cruise with this guy I hope to grow really old with. Keep the kids on their toes!