Friday, April 05, 2013

612.6

The school library, which is right next to my office, is a happening place. The library staff is continually coming up with intriguing enticements to read, to peruse, to browse. Currently they are running an effort called Dewey-A-Day. It seems each day they post a Dewey number (today is 810) and students are urged to visit the section, examine some books, and then enter a drawing for a prize. Love it!

An ancient memory has surfaced.

I was about 13, and a very naive and unsophisticated 13. My father had a card for the Philadelphia Library; it enabled him to check out 12 books for three weeks. I was a voracious reader, so the deal was that he would pick out up to six books, and I could pick six.

One evening, while searching through the "to be shelved" cart for something new and different, I found the book pictured above. I was 13, therefore, a teen-ager, and I delved into it and gasped! Oh, the information it contained! I'd no idea. No idea whatsoever. I made a mental note of the call number (see, I can still remember it!). Certainly not brave enough to check the book out, on subsequent visits I would pick out my books very, very quickly and then head over to 612.6 and furtively self-educate before it was time to check out.

I don't think my father ever knew . . . .



12 comments:

Janet O. said...

And was it the "complete and unabridged" version you were surreptitiously reading? : )

Patrica said...

That is so funny. Since I attended Catholic girl's schools all my life I certainly can relate to TOTAL ignorance. I remember our 10th grade biology teacher telling us to skip the chapter on human reproduction in the biology text book, forbidding us to read it! And I DIDN"T read it! I was such a goody goody ;( Boy have I changed.

LizA. said...

I can only imagine what today's teenagers would say if you showed them this book.

Ms. Jan said...

I was almost 12 and in 6th grade when my sister "had to get married" at the end of her Sr. year in HS. I'd had "the talk" at school, but really didn't get why my mother was in tears all that summer. When she told me that my sister was having a baby, I started to jump for joy, which brought on more tears. This is the same woman who wouldn't let me read her copy of "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex" when I was seventeen. Ostrich!

Lori said...

That is hilarious! My brother and I used to look at national geographics and get a giggle!
So, did this book teach you everything your parents didn't tell you?

OT Quilter said...

A great library/coming-of-age story! My dad, too, had a Free Library of Phila. card, and I thought the three week borrowing period and the number of books allowed was the best thing that ever happened to me. We went to the Cobbs Creek branch which seemed so big compared to our tiny little suburban library. I grew up to become librarian (HS, now retired); love the Dewey a Day idea! People wonder why the ALA Code of Ethics includes confidentiality for patrons...something really appreciated by '50s-'60s teens doing our surreptitious reading, eh?

Barbara Anne said...

What a hoot! Where was I when this book was available? I went to our local library weekly but there was nothing to pull me toward a very different Dewey number than my usual.

Yes, I remember "that" class for the girls and all that wasn't even hinted at. Good grief!

I was in public school so the chapter on human reproduction was part of the course, but nobody looked at anybody when it was being presented. It seemed so unimaginable at the time ...

Thanks for the laugh!

Hugs!

Nann said...

Ah, yes -- I discovered "A Marriage Manual" by Drs. Abraham and Hannah Stone pushed to the back of a corner bookcase (at home). Shocked and half-scared me and I never, ever mentioned to my mother (let alone my dad) that I even knew that the book was there. The illustrations were very clinical anatomical cutaways -- not as all as encouraging as the drawings in the Joy of Sex (and by then I was an adult who understood what was going on!).

And, yes, I do remember the Kotex movie. Fifth grade. Mothers invited to attend. The film projector had to be adjusted and Mr. Lukas, the principal, had to come in the auditorium to do the adjusting. Nervous giggles all around!

Synthia said...

Such a clever girl! I applaud you for your inquisitiveness. It made me giggle.

Synthia said...

P.S. Nann's comment about Kotex brought back memories of working in my Dad's general store in our little Iowa town when I was a girl. My job was to wrap the boxes of Kotex in plain brown paper and tie it with string before putting it on the shelf. Like people didn't know what was in the box...... so funny now.

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

It's funny the things we can recall. I remember watching a movie in school during health class 1968 or 1969 called "Phoebe", it dealt with a young girl "in trouble" and I remember being so embarrassed to be in a class with boys. I never mentioned that film; or, for that matter, the class to my parents for fear that someone would want to discuss the subject!

suz said...

wow, does this bring back memories. I went to Catholic school and had an Irish Catholic mom - NOTHING was discussed! Sr. Nora told us "you can kiss your father, you can kiss your brother and when your fiance goes off to war, you can give him a peck on the cheek in the train station"! My cousin sat me down and explained "the facts of life" when I started college - thank heavens for her...and fortunate for me that I went to an all-girl high school!