I wake up every morning with no memory of the past few days. Sleep will do that for you. I open my eyes welcoming consciousness, and before I have the time to toss aside my grandma’s quilt, I remember. I remember reality. I remember how much fun it was to ride down one of Maine’s peninsulas and explore with abandon? I remember freedom, but making my way in the world today takes everything I’ve got. I think taking a break from all my worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? I would! Wouldn’t you like to go where everybody knows your name? Only four weeks ago, I visited such a place.

It’s a beautiful day in Old Orchard Beach, and I’m on my way to my second home, Libby Memorial Library. When I walk up to the library door I’m balancing a big pile of books, and I’m praying that someone will come along to open the door for me before a cavalcade of library materials hits the ground. A stranger approaches from the right and calls out, “I’ll get that door for you.” YES! Timing is Everything!

As I enter the building, I see Johanna sitting at the circulation desk. She’s wearing her usual look: researcher. Her is head down, eyes focused on the computer screen.

“Good morning! I’m returning these,” I say as I slide my book tower towards Jo. “I also have a book being held.”

“Only one?” Jo remarks with a tiny smirk.

Sure enough, she checks the cart of rotating materials, and I have one novel, “The Mercies by Kiran Millwoood Hargraves,” from the Paris Library, and an audiobook, “The Matriarch, Barbara Bush and the Making of an American Dynasty.” Oh, great! This one is read by the author! I also have a box of DVD’s; the first season of Tom Clancy’s “Jack Ryan” (to binge watch). Jo is smiling as she checks out my treasures.

“Hello, Nancy!” I hear as Susan approaches from across the room. She’s so great. One time she even called me on a Sunday to let me know my book club read had arrived! “How are you?” she calls out.

“Great! How are you Susan? I just returned this movie, “Knives Out.” It’s awesome. It’s a little Agatha Christie with a James Bond twist. Daniel Craig! Good acting and good looking!”

“I haven’t seen that one yet, but since you recommended it, I’ll put it on my list. Thanks for the recommendation.”

A few steps away I am greeted by another of “my library” people. “Hello Honey,” says Sheila. I’ve learned over the past few years that she calls everyone, honey, or sweetheart, or darlin’. I always feel special anyway when she says it to me. She’s so kind that her license plate says, “Blessed.”

Sally, a special library volunteer, wheels by with a cartload of books that I’m sure outweighs her. She’s focused on her shelving task as she slides by and heads with purpose to adult fiction. The OOB Community Food Pantry man is delivering bread for library patrons, and she barely notices.

Meanwhile, despite the fact that I have just checked out at least a week’s worth of entertainment, I head over to the new fiction area to peruse the offerings. A few steps to the right, and now I’m twirling the bookstand in the children’s area. I’m an equal opportunity browser! I peer around the corner and there is Kim, the children’s librarian, working on a craft project for Saturday’s kids program. “How can I help you today, Nancy?”

“Oh, I’m just browsing, but do you know if you have any trivia books? I play trivia on Thursday nights, and I need to fill my head with more minutiae.” Kim’s fingers dance across the keyboard and the next thing I know, I’m following her to JNF 031 WOR, and then I’m going back to the circulation desk with a 365 page copy of the World Almanac for Kids.

Before I leave, I realize that I haven’t looked at the new non-fiction titles yet. Doris, the “plant lady” and a fellow volunteer from the Friends of Libby Library, is watering the greenery in the library’s front window. Hellos are exchanged as I scan more shelves while proceeding to the exit, a pile of library items in one arm and a baguette in the other.

“Bye. See you soon.” I call.

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name. And they’re always glad you came. You want to go where people know, people are all the same. You want to go where everybody knows your name.

From “Cheers,” Judy Hart Angelo, Gary Portnoy

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