We headed up I-59 to Gadsden yesterday morning bright and early for a visit to the Gadsden Public Library where we were greeted by two wonderful librarians, Jillian Reeves and Carol Roark York, who welcomed us with open arms and simply made the day so easy-breezy and fun.
We got everything set up and showed the kids all the storycatching books, rocks, fairies, bones from Momma Frances’ Tennessee farm, acorns, pictures, and other treasures on the tables. One of the kids found my grandmother’s old black cigarette case that snaps open, and I said, “My grandmother, Elizabeth Baker, used to enjoy smoking a cigarette and doing her crosswords puzzles at the kitchen table in Leavenworth, Kansas. This was her old-fashioned cigarette case.” They laughed at the ancient cigarette still inside the black case.
Then for the first time, we sat on the floor in the storytelling corner with the kids and something just clicked in that moment. At the other libraries, we’d been standing and telling stories, but when we sat down on the floor with kids the stories just started flowing.
Maybe it’s because we know we just have a few library visits left together or that we’re just in more practice, but everything somehow connected and clicked at Gadsden. And the kids began making all kinds of trees with the buttons, fabric, twine, and ripped up paper. One little girl even cut out a tiny red dress for a little child figure under her tree the way Lucy cut out Kathryn and Charlie’s clothes from real material. The little girl even made shoes out of tiny seashells.
Another child said, “I don’t know how to make a tree,” and Lucy said, “You’re not supposed to know, but I bet you can figure it out.” And then the little girl just started hanging buttons for fruits and sticks for branches, and it all came together.
A grandmother, Mrs. Hicks, who brought her two granddaughters, said, “This is how we used to play together as kids.” And several people in Gadsden had heard Kathryn tell stories at Storytelling Festivals, and they had their own stories to tell too.
On a different note, there is a lot of upheaval and change (moving after 15 years!) going on in our lives right now back home in Los Angeles where we live part of the year. Even on this side of the country, Lucy’s starting her new life after college, and Norah’s about to begin high school, but getting to do these library visits together is a rare and special gift to treasure. The kids are so much fun and it’s like the busy, hectic world stops for a little while inside the library where we all get to breathe and play together. I’m cherishing each day with Lucy and Norah, and of course, Olive, the happy dog, who chewed on her bone and found many friends at the Gadsden Library too.
Afterwards, Olive even paid a visit to Princess Noccallula at waterfalls as you’ll see in the pictures below.
Tomorrow we are off to the Choctaw Public Library, which is not far from the state line of Mississippi in Western Alabama.
And here are more links and pictures from being on the road in Alabama.
More pictures from wonderful outreach Carol Roark York’s Flicker from our day at the Gadsden Public Library.
And Lucy’s short movie vines:
ON THE ROAD HOME FROM SELMA ALONG HIGHWAY 22: https://vine.co/v/huzB9jO0Bil?fb_action_ids=10151561523777885&fb_action_types=vine-app%3Apost&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582
NOCCALLULA FALLS WITH OLIVE AND PRINCESS PRINCESS NOCCALLULA https://vine.co/v/huzuH0E10Mq?fb_action_ids=10151561523602885&fb_action_types=vine-app%3Apost&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582