Some memories hold firm even as the context that once cradled them fades away. They rise on occasion, like a high definition video, and the viewer wonders about all she has forgotten. When I attended the 47th Annual Local Author Exhibit, hosted by the San Diego Public Library, the following memory surfaced.
It is 1988 and I am riding the escalator in Seattle’s downtown public library, which seems most cosmopolitan to this young woman who once found Eugene large in comparison to the places she had been. I am wearing pumps, hose, and a dress that looks like a business suit. It is a dress code I am expecting to adopt once I land my first professional job. As the steps of the escalator move toward the third floor, my nervousness peaks. I am about to face an interview that will eventually pave my way into Seattle.
I spent over twenty years working in four public libraries in four different cities before moving on to higher education. So maybe the old downtown library in San Diego, slated to be abandoned now that a new building is being prepared for its grand opening this summer, brought on the nostalgia. It is certainly reminiscent of the Seattle library I once knew before it was leveled so a spiffier building could rise in its place. Or maybe I’ve just lived through another high definition video, one that will eventually begin to play on demand. That day I rode the escalator felt like a new beginning—and so did this one.
To be sure, my former colleagues in Seattle would have envied such a program, which was hosted for more than 400 writers who live and write in the greater San Diego area. Our books were placed on display on the main floor and will remain so throughout the month of February. Yes, we were treated to music, hor dourves, as well as a good inspirational speech by Judy Reeves, founder of San Diego Writer’s Ink, “the city’s premier writing center which anchors the literary community in the city and is a proud neighbor of the New Central Library.” Best of all, to me anyway, we were able to share the festivities with the library workers who organized the event on our behalf.
Kudos to the San Diego Public Library!