October 03, 2015

Sister Differences

I recently enjoyed a visit from my sister Erin, who is two years my junior.  During her visit here, more than one person commented to us how much we look alike.  That was surprising considering she has blonde hair with a few hints of gray.  I'm mainly gray with a few lingering whispers of blondeness. She's taller and lithe.  I'm shorter and not so lithe.  She still has a sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of her nose whereas my nose is usually adorned with a pair of much-needed reading glasses.

And it's not just our physicality where differences abound. From the time we were little girls, we’ve always been more different than alike. And now that we both cruising into our sixties, we each continue to march to our own drum. She's still the extrovert and I'm still the introvert. She's the city girl and I'm the country girl at heart.  Her house is in the desert of Arizona and I make my home in sweet little Pullman. Erin's son just started his freshman year of college and our youngest grandchild just took his first toddling steps.  Worlds spinning in  separate orbits, round and round. 

And yet, as sisters we do have some commonalities and shared passions. Each of us is enamored with anything vintage or kitschy. We can always be found haunting thrift stores, braking for yard sales and exploring flea markets in search of treasures.  And we also share a great passion for books and the public library. 

Maybe the roots for this go back to growing up in a very rural setting in Illinois, where there was no library in our town or school and there was little money in our household of six to purchase books.  The closest public library was "in the city" about fifteen miles away.  We would visit it at least once a month and feel as though we had found the pot of gold at the end of a spectacular rainbow. So many books, just waiting for us to take home and read!  And not a single penny was needed to do so.  It was a dream beyond measure and one that truly helped change our lives.

So, it only seems natural that our devotion to and our appreciation of the public library would remain steadfast all these years. Now, lucky, lucky me, as I find myself living the dream of working in the very institution that played such a pivotal role in my own learning and growth throughout my life. And my sister finds herself doing what so many fellow book and library lovers do ... supporting her local library at every opportunity.  Her family makes donations of books and monies regularly.  She is also a long-standing and active member of her library's Friends volunteer group.  Erin knows what I know ... libraries change lives. And libraries depend on its constituents to help make that happen for everyone.  

So, thanks for the visit, Erin.  Differences aside, I'm happy and proud we stand as sisters together when it comes to helping promote literacy, lifelong learning and the love of books, regardless of where we live or what direction our lives may take us. Here’s to lives being changed and yes, some great vintage treasures being found as well!  United we stand!
Kathleen Ahern
Children's Librarian

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