Long, long ago, before Tunnels and Trolls was even a twinkling in my eye, I got my first library job at the Ocotillo Branch Library in South Phoenix. There I learned what it was like to entertain children, and help people do research, and weed a collection, and eventually even how to select books. I learned what it was like to be part of a community, and to promote the public library–far and away the best thing that city governments have ever done for their citizens. And, after a couple of years at Ocotillo I grew ambitious, I got married, and I went away to Tucson, Arizona and the University of Arizona to get my M.L.S. (Master of Library Science) degree. To do that, I had to quit my job, and though I loved that job, I gave it up so that I could advance to bigger and better things in life.
The people at Ocotillo gave me a farewell party, as is frequently done when people leave one job for another. And we had cake and music and good conversation. And for my present they gave me this little booklet made of construction paper and things cut from magazines–something to remember them by. I had nothing to give them, but simply accepted their friendship, and tried to make them laugh.
Going through my papers, I found this old booklet which I hadn’t seen for a long, long time, and thought, I’d share it with the world. This isn’t really about me. It’s about Friendship, and the wonderful friends of the past–all of whom are lost to me now, and some of them are dead. I got my library degree, and I worked for Phoenix Public Library once place or another for some 37 years; I made many more excellent friends, and I miss them now that I’m retired, but there was never a better bunch of good-hearted people than the ones I worked with at the beginning at Ocotillo Library on the poor side of Phoenix.
None of the pictures is an actual picture of the people I worked with, but perhaps it is how they saw themselves, or how they thought I saw them. Sarah was wise and funny and black; Annie was the earth mother; Chris was the romantic blonde, Rachel was the sturdy person ready for anything, Terry was a hot salsa chick, Dick was a crotchety but wise older man who taught me a good deal about being a librarian, Beverly actually was a Navajo Indian–what a marvelous intercultural group we had! Working with the staff at Ocotillo was the best thing that happened to me during the 70s.
Well, it’s not a booklet that I want to throw away, although I imagine it will be discarded when they sort out my stuff when I’m dead, but I’ve put it here as a tribute to those friends of the past. I miss them all.
If your friends ever made a book for you, or even if they didn’t, feel free to leave a comment.