Saturday, February 24, 2018

How the Anglo-Saxons saved my life, with the help of the Bexley, OH library

Of course I'm an Anglophile, and have been since the age of 13.  That was how old I was when I read my first book by P G Wodehouse and discovered the wonderful world of country estates, servants, and the Drones Club.  What a great place to live!  Even at that age, I knew it was too good to be true, but that in no way detracted from its charm.  Fortunately, that was in the old days, when the Bexley  Library had not discarded any books, so I was able to read a dozen volumes by the Master.

  And then I discovered Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, to be exact.  I loved that book so much that when I first finished reading it I went back to the opening and read it again.  Country houses!  Balls!   Gossip!   But it wasn't just the setting, I loved Jane Austen's style.  These two authors taught me to write, taught me what a great writing style could bring to a book, and got me on the road to being a lifelong Anglophile and a prodigious reader.   

  I'm not kidding when I said they saved my life, either.  I was a miserable kid, attending a new school, and two years younger than my classmates.  My parents were getting divorced, not that either of them mentioned the topic, but my father's total absence from our new house was noticeable even to an unobservant child.  I also didn't have the clothes the popular girls wore.  Even my shoes were not quite right. 

  In addition to this, I was so shy that I dreaded anyone even looking at me.  Needless to say, I had no friends.  My classmates scared me.  I hated that school with an intensity that frightens me to this day.  Once I went away to college, I never walked down the street where the high school was located.  I never wanted to be in Central Ohio again, and mostly I haven't been.

  I buried my head in P G Wodehouse and Jane Austen.  When I was in their world I was released from the realities of my own.  I don't know how I would have gotten through high school without them.  But I am eternally grateful to the library for making my continued existence possible.


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