Once a month members of the Rehoboth Beach Writers Guild are invited to share their work. Each month there is a new theme. The topic was borrowing. Lots of time now in a retired life to reflect on my childhood memories and the gifts given to me by my mom.
When I hear the word borrow I think about the children’s books called the Borrowers and remember my mother. She loved the idea of fantasy little people stealing things that real people misplaced. When you raise six girls, things disappeared on a regular basis and of course we all expected our mother to find them. A maroon knee sock, a Nancy Drew mystery, a hair band, an overdue library book.
My mother gave me my true love of literature—we lived our lives looking forward to borrowing library books. I passed this tradition onto my own two children telling them that they could only check out as many books as they could carry. I can picture them at ages 5 and 7, trying to walk to the car balancing a two foot stack against their slim bodies, their eyes peering out over the top. A stack as high as Caps for Sale.
My mother also gave her children a fondness for butter. There were always Christmas cookies in the freezer beginning with the first week in November: walnut crescents, candy canes, mint surprise. Only it was always her surprise when she would go down to the utility room where the freezer was stored to find half a dozen empty Tupperware containers. Fuming she would rant at the six of us for stealing cookies—cold frozen cookies that we had to purloin one at a time and surreptitiously fold up into our pajama pants or pocket, but all of us vehemently denied wrongdoing. You can only imagine how quickly we could empty those containers. She taught us to bake more.
Stealing was a sin, but borrowing was acceptable as long as you returned it. My mother always wrote her name on the inside cover of every book she owned. “Just make sure you return it when you are done.” A good lesson for everything–no matter what you take. Return it.