The Librarian Cried

      Everything seems vaguely wrong today. Things are unusually somber at Grandma and Grandpa's house. No one wants to play with us. Mommy and Daddy are standing in the dark hallway and whispering, and I think Mommy's crying, but I'm not sure because I can't see her face. They seem to be upset by something on the radio. I can hear the words they're listening to, but I don't know what the words are saying. I try to figure them out, but someone shuts them off as if they can't stand to listen to them . . .
     Later in the day, Grandma takes Sam and I to the library. The children's section is downstairs, and our favorite part is a round table that's full of colorful jigsaw puzzles. Behind the table, a square black television is screwed to the wall and the channel is turned to the news. Nothing much is on, just the same picture of two silver towers, over and over again. They are very tall towers, with planes flying in circles around them and smoke trailing out of them. Sam and I stand close together, looking at it. It's a very strange picture, but what we find even stranger is the behavior of the librarian. She's crying, and it makes me nervous because I've never seen a librarian cry before.
     Grandma seems to know the librarian, and she puts her arms around her and comforts her. They talk together, and you can tell that their hearts are breaking. I decide it must be the picture of the towers that makes them sad, but I don't understand why two towers matter to my Grandma and the Delavan children's librarian. The rest of the day fades into a blur. Grandma takes us home, and she reads us books and we play. Soon everything is back to normal.

     Time has passed, and I'm older now. I know what actually happened. But in another way, I don't know. I've tried to understand it and to make sense of it. But I really can't. I guess we all see history in our lifetime, but we see it through our own eyes. For me, my piece of history is the day the twin towers fell. But I remember it as the day the librarian cried.


  1. This is so poignant. Lovely writing, Lydia.
    I like your description and the perspective of a younger child.

    ~Kate @ in pursuit

  2. Breathtaking recount. And still so chilling. I barely remember that day, maybe because no one told my smaller self? Still. Sobering.

  3. I'm sniffing to myself now. That was sooo perfect. Sobering. Innocent. Perfect. Sweet. Sad... and perfect. I love the way you ended that. It could have come straight from a published memoir. I love your writing. :)

  4. This is just beautiful and touching, Lydia. Thank you for writing this, for reminding us to remember this day. x - Jianine

  5. I remember it as the day I heard my 7th grade history teacher pick up the phone and say "shut up! that is NOT funny." I then remember it as the day that I didn't have a single class, but we just drifted from room to room watching TV. And I remember it as the day that I saw people jumping from a burning building on tv.