I’m going to let you in on a little secret—shhhhh—don’t tell anyone—the most wonderful place of all at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy is … the library! I discovered this amazing fact four years ago when my daughter started as a freshman at FSHA. As you probably know, parents are asked to volunteer at school, which I think is a totally noble and worthwhile pursuit, but as I looked at the list of volunteer opportunities, I started feeling a little anxious. I guess I could help the dance department make costumes, but I hadn’t really sewn since ninth grade when my home ec teacher (yes—I’m that old) kept making me rip out my zipper because the seam wasn’t straight. Bad memory. Not going to volunteer for sewing. There were opportunities for hosting events, but since I’m a violinist by trade, I’m more comfortable with playing rather than speaking.
THEN! The librarian sent out an email seeking library volunteers. “No way,” I thought, “I can help in the library and get volunteer hours to boot.” My heart started to sing. So, I went to the FSHA library, which I immediately fell in love with, because it is literally old school! Nora Murphy, the librarian, was new like me! And … this is really fantastic … she played the violin! So, she was a person who worked with books and loved the violin, and I was a person who played the violin and loved books. Symmetry.
Last May, when my daughter’s graduation was imminent, I realized that I didn’t want to leave my volunteer job. I liked driving up the Hill.
Nora taught me how to line up books on the shelf, so that they are all seen, even the little, tiny ones. She taught me how to cover books to protect them. She even let me pick out ANY BOOKS I WANTED for displays! Have you ever had anyone give you free reign in a library to pick out the books you liked, not just finding books for doing research for some class on nineteenth century Russian gymnastics? I was hooked. I liked to come on Fridays, because everyone seemed happy that the weekend was near. Sometimes there were donuts. Lots of teachers would come in, so I got to talk to these fantastic, interesting people who taught my daughter. Also, Sister Celeste usually came in and always gave me a hug. She made me feel like I was doing something really good, and how often does a person get to feel like that?
Fast forward four years. My daughter has graduated and is off at college. She has left FSHA, but I have not. I still come in on Fridays, shelving books, doing whatever my friend Nora and the library needs to have done. Last May, when my daughter’s graduation was imminent, I realized that I didn’t want to leave my volunteer job. I liked driving up the Hill. Working at the FSHA library puts a nice finish to my work week. I shelve books, the tumblers in my brain fall into place, and all is right with the world. I definitely found my niche at FSHA. I don’t think that I am alone in that. FSHA is a welcoming place for many different kinds of people. As long as they want me, I’ll keep coming. As I go through life, I have discovered an important truth. If you enjoy doing something, (as long as it isn’t immoral or illegal) you should keep doing it! I’m going to keep doing it.
See you in the library!