A Living Mausoleum……#26a (The 50’s)

A living breathing entity, The Public Library

Entering this mausoleum like structure was always gratifying with its musty smell that imbued the ambiguous presences of antiquated publications. The building with its silence was mystic, concealing its greatest possessions between the folds of shrouded  pages. The person engaged in employment could only direct, to acquire and instill content was the responsibility of the procurers. Some came for entertainment, some to be enlightened with wisdom and knowledge, others coming out of desperation, searching for an identity, a place or even a reason. Young Mike finding the library a never-ending resource of what life was about and what it had to offer.  Through books he found that he could experience the perceptions and consciousness as viewed through the mind and eyes of those who substance and knowledge exceeded his endemic entity.

The Stars Like Dust

Mike discerned that to blame is not to accuse,  accusations are fleeting,  blame is substantive, he blamed his Mother for his addiction to the library. To him reading was never a school assignment,  it was a cultivation,  his mother handing him a book, The Oregon Trail by Francis Parkman.  It was the beginning of a road that had no ending.  At an earlier age he attempted Animal Farm by George Orwell,  but he wasn’t ready for its social meaning and read the more understandable Walter Brookes, the Freddy Series instead.  He later discovered a new adventure series when his cousin Bud O’Toole introduced him to Robert Sidney Bowen and the Dave Dawson WWII  war adventure series, leaving several of the 1941-1946 published books written explicitly for the school age reading disciples before departing for the Korean war.  Mike’s reading found a world of revelation,  Kipling’s Jungle Book and many others, Toby Tyler, Tom Sawyer,  Treasure Island and then ‘eureka’ a literary treasure, science fiction.  Robert A  Heinlein’s Rocketship Galileo, The Red Planet,  Craigie’s The Voyage of Luna One,  Isaac Asimov Pebble in the Sky, The Stars Like Dust and his continuing saga of Foundation, an endless inexhaustible world emerging.  He knew  it was the ascendancy from reading not  curiosity that instilled a desire for him to sleep outside and view the flash from a nuclear bomb lighting up the eastern horizon of the  sky,  even if only from the confines of his Oakland  backyard.

Mike reasoned, television was subjective, radio was subjective, even movies were subjective, but a novel was emancipating.

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