Friday, May 9, 2008

Story Time, Tiny Town Style

There's lots of reason why living here makes me CRAZY (read: no Target). Recently, I had the extreme need for some "retail therapy" and what do you suppose I was able to buy for myself? A People magazine (brain candy!) and fresh flowers. BECAUSE THERE IS NOTHING TO BUY HERE.

But hey! Here's one reason why I love Tiny Town: Story Time.

Our library is tiny, and has basically NOTHING in it to, you know, read, but it DOES have Story Time. And here's how Story Time rolls: I drop the kids off. They do not need to be signed up first. I do not have to stay on the premises. No one asks me for contact information or consent forms or permission slips or jackshit. I am not nervous leaving my kids there, because if there was a problem, my husband's office is just down the street, and the librarians know him and me and would easily track one of us down.

(I then have 45 minutes to myself, which is, in a town this size, PLENTY of time to get all my groceries, or run a bunch of errands, or meet someone for coffee, and still be back in time for pick-up.)

Recently, a little girl I know was wandering the stacks holding the librarian's hand looking for her mommy. Another mom stepped forward and said "Oh, Carmen, I just talked to your mom, and you are coming with me today." The librarian smiled and released Carmen into the other mom's care. No written permission, no talking in person to the mom, etc.

I love this not because I'm reckless, but because in Tiny Town it really is a safe way to operate. The librarians know the families, the moms all know each other, and we rely on good old fashioned TRUST.

Trust in is short supply these days (for good reason, I know), but I'm happy to live in a town where things can be simple and wholesome and red-tape free. I understand there a very few places where this is true (again, for good reason), and it makes Tiny Town feel home-y and kind and idyllic.

Yesterday, when I picked up the girls from Story Time, I also picked up my friend's 2 boys. This was a last minute arrangement. The other moms were laughing at me, wrangling 5 kids under age 5 through the check-out process. The boys didn't have the card with them, and neither did we, but the librarain looked up our cards and checked out our stuff, all without asking me a single question about how to spell my name or the boys' name. One of the other moms watched Marin for me while I helped the older kids choose a movie. Another mom followed me to the door and held it open for all of us to pass through, and then did the same with my car doors. The librarians said goodbye to the kids by name, and never questioned me taking the boys.

This really is a lovely way to raise kids, and it makes me sad to think of how few places this exists anymore. Trust and neighbors and community are so important- and until recently these were the norms of towns all across our country. I wonder how long it will be before our library has to be more strict on their policies re: Story Time. For now, I'm enjoying the simplicity of Tiny Town living.

11 comments:

Tessie said...

I grew up in a place just like that, as you know.

It's a great way to grow up. What a gift to your kids. It makes me sad that mine won't know the same thing.

Kate said...

This post makes me very nostalgic; I also grew up in a place just like this.

We live in a bit larger community now and although we don't have kids yet, I know they will never get to experience this.

That thought kind of makes me miss home.

Shelly Overlook said...

Wow, that is amazing. It is a gift to be able to give that to your kids (as Tessie said) and I wish I could do the same for mine. Savor it, even when you have moments you are cursing the no Target situation.

Astarte said...

Wow, that sounds so great!!! Before we moved to our current area, we were near DC, and nobody was going anywhere without five notes, three phone calls, and a partridge in a pear tree. I actually got accused of kidnapping once when I brought one of Josie's friends home with us from school and her mother hadn't passed on the info to her grandmother, who usually met her at the bus stop. The principal called my house and started screaming at me that I had kidnapped the girl! Funny, I thought kidnappers took kids somewhere where you didn't know where they were. Anyway, I have been very leery about picking up anyone's kids for them ever since.

d e v a n said...

Wow, that's nice. :)

desperate housewife said...

ALMOST compensation for no Target.
No, kidding. It totally is. But I hear you on the no-shopping blues, big time. I also have No Good Restaurant blues. We DID get a Panera recently, though, and I have been to it an embarassing number of times in the past few weeks.

Erin said...

That is very cool and it's surprising to me how hard it is to RELATE. Which is alarming, you know?

Here's something that gets me: CARSEATS. How did you get all five kids home? Was it close enough that you didn't need 3 cars seats and 2 boosters? Is that okay to do that?

Because I feel like we could do a lot more with our newphews and boys if we could TRANSPORT all of us in some reasonable fashion. Carseats really limit our ability to do anything outside the house. That sounds absurd, I know, but it really is a barrier. I'm all for safety, etc., but there has GOT to be a better way.

I feel a post of my own coming on...

Kristin.... said...

You live in an amazingly tiny town! I live in a tiny town compared to the city I was in before, and I would have felt more comfortable in the city doing something like that than here in our little town. Unfortunately, here, it's not an everyone knows everyone kind of place. We're a bit rural; I live on 13 acres of land, 1300 feet back from a public road. My road is private; I have 1 other neighbor. Your town reminds me of Little House (we're reading that now). Hopefully minus Nellie Oleson.

clueless but hopeful mama said...

This makes me weep, just a little. I HATE the anonymity and FEAR that are ever present in LA. There are crazies everywhere or so we're led to believe.

How awesome that you have that. I have three Targets within a 10 minute drive of my house. Need anything?

anne said...

Youy totally do have the perfect little town and the best darn house in it too.....sigh, missing you and your porch swing....

Jenn said...

I love hearing of your tiny town adventures! I grew up in a place like that --- though your town would be considered a BIG one since you mention a place to have coffee and a McDonald's. I miss small town life but am grateful you can raise your kids in such a relaxed and trustful environ.