Our laundromat is not fancy, half the washers don't work, and there is no tv, radio or internet to entertain us.It's very old and the only one in town.The change machine works on occasion and is very picky on what dollar bills it will change.God forbid you get a bill that has too many creases or has anything written or stamped on the face of the bill. There is an attendant present some of the time,when you need him, he is no where to be found. Typical of a small town,some patrons, however, do leave their newspapers and magazines behind for others to read.
Some things you take for granted. You just know other people already KNOW this thing or that. You figure they have taught their children over their young years how things work in this world.Recently on my visit to do my weekly chore I came across a young mother and her little boy. I asked the boy how old he was and he held up three fingers. Oh, I love that age. They are so cute and are into everything. I sat waiting for my rinse cycle,when the 3 year old asked me "where the plug goes" on
the magazine I was reading, I just had to shake my head. Had he never seen a magazine before? I smiled and told him there wasn't a plug because it was a magazine. He looked puzzled so I showed him the pages. He looked so shocked when looking at it. This purely was a child who had never been acquainted with magazine reading materials, only the computer type displays. I gave him the book and let him flip through the pages. This magazine was nothing he had ever seen before. I asked him if he had some books at home. I was almost afraid to hear the answer.
In his little world there were no magazines yet, but a computer or game box, yes he
knew what those were. He knew that the big big machines at the laundromat were for big big loads of clothes and you had to put "tons of money" in them to run them. He
knew that his mom would not let him go outside the door of the place unless she was with him and no matter how hot it got in there he was NOT to play with the big fan that was on wheels. Getting back to the books, he told me he had some small books but nothing as big as that magazine was. I asked him if he had ever been to the library?
Did he know what a library was? No, his mom had not taken him to the library. My heart just sank. He was missing so much and would be so behind other kids when starting school. I sat and told him all about the library and all the things the library had to offer him. His mother came and sat beside me staring at her blackberry phone. I wanted so badly to be able to tell her what the boy and I had been talking about. Turns out, I didn't have to because in a minute or two the boy came back from his "walk" around the inside of the building and asked his mom about the magazine. I took the opportunity to tell her I had showed him the book. I told her there were all types of magazines and books for kids at the library for him to look at. She told me that she was new in town and had no idea where the library was. I told her where it was,and that I was sure her boy would love to visit there.
The mother of the boy thanked me and as she gathered up her baskets, piled high,
smiled back at me as they left. As she strapped the boy into his car seat I heard him
tell her he wanted to go to the library. The seed had been planted. I can only wonder if the boy will ever really get to visit the library. I can only hope so.
The more that you read, the more you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.