Books Againby Rosalind Foley on 08/30/15
Son Mark and I were having supper at Cracker Barrel recently when a woman approached our table. I was startled at first and then recognized her. It was Bobbie, the Bookmobile Lady. We hugged like long lost friends, which indeed we were.
Every two weeks, for many years, Bobbie had parked the big brightly-painted bus in front of our house. She came on Mondays, as I recall. We were one of her regular neighborhood stops. At the sound of the squawky horn, kids came flying from every room - or the back yard if they were playing outside - to a chorus of "the Bookmobile!" "The Bookmobile!"
If I was on my toes, the checked out books would have been gathered that morning, the list crossed off. If not, a wild search party ensued. The excited children grabbed books and lined up by the street, eager for the whooshing sound of the door to open and the step that would let them enter that magical world.
Such books. All colors, sizes, thicknesses, separated into categories. Books from floor to ceiling, held secure during travel with bungee cord-like bands. And, seated at a tiny desk at the very back of the bus, was Bobbie's assistant waiting to check books in or out or to deliver books I'd requested. I was doing research at the time and those ladies came up sith some amazing finds.
It was on the Bookmobile that some of my children discovered Curious George, Nancy Drew and The Chronicles of Narnia . They read Judy Blume, they read How Things Work. They read the Madeleine series and Babar and stories about real animals. Through books they got material for science and social studies projects. They learned about planets, mythology, art and people in other countries. They checked out books with recipes for making Christmas cookies. They pored over books that taught how to do magic tricks. Sometimes, to my chagrin, they came home with riddle and joke books to plague the rest of us for days.
They were disappointed when every so often the Bookmobile had to be in the shop for repairs. Eventually the parts she needed were no longer available and she couldn't be patched up any more. Bobbie was given a van so she could at least continue making deliveries to nursing homes, but the neighborhood stops had come to an end.
When I tell the rest of the family about seeing Bobbie at Cracker Barrel, they break into smiles and say "Really? The Bookmobile Lady?" Then they reminisce. Thanks, Bobbie.