Inappropriate for whom?

Monday, December 31, 2012

When I was in upper elementary school, 7th grade or so, I walked to the local bookmobile in St. Francis, WI every two weeks and loaded up with as many books as I could carry home. One time the bookmobile librarian did not approve of one of the books I had selected and said I needed a note from home to take it out. My aunt Frances wrote her a note that said if I had picked out a book that she did not think was appropriate, she would talk to me about it when she saw me reading it as I was an avid reader and carried my books with me where ever I went. I read English, French and American novels. Most were in the adult section. My aunt never questioned what I was reading. The only question she ever asked was how did I manage to carry so many books the 12 blocks or from the where the bookmobile parked and the house. Yes, there was plenty of sex in the books. I remained a virgin until I was in college and had my first child three years into my marriage. Books about sex were not the biggest threat to my well-being; it was the sex discrimination and cruelty to smart girls and women that were my biggest obstacles to surviving and thriving in the American culture of the 1970s and beyond. But survive and thrive I did. And I think I learned a strategy or two from those inappropriate adult novels.

2 thoughts on “Inappropriate for whom?

  1. What was truly amazing was that while your Aunt Frances was probably very conservative (almost puritanical) she was foremost an educator and while she understood your need to explore sexuality (and that was very much not discussed/acknowledged) in the Eastern European mind-set, I think she was very savvy about the world in general. I realize I am talking about my own mother (who is 96 years old), but I think, to be honest, my mother is very much more thoughtful and enlightened than I am….I know that is hard to explain but, honestly, I think Fran is more “hip” than I am…I know, for a fact, my mother is less judgmental than I am…but again, my mom recently told me, ” I hear some of the things you say (e.g. Babette) and I just ignore them…while I think sometimes I am the fountain of all knowledge….I know my other really does accept everyone for who they are and she rarely says anything negative….I can only inspire to be her

    • She reflects the time in which she was raised and by that I mean there were very rigid rules in place for girls and women in the late 1940’s and 50’s. As she has grown older, she has chosen to be flexible in her view point. She realizes that times are far different than when she was a young woman. I have heard many times that as people grow into old age, they tend to take on one of two paths: they become more open and tolerant or they chose to be rigid and judgmental. Your mother has chosen the open path. And that makes her wise and a valuable source of inspiration for you, me and others who are fortunate enough to put themselves in her sphere of influence. Thank you Babette for your comment and for sharing your mother with me for all of these years.

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