And so this week’s moment of happiness despite the news.
Back in 2014, I purchased a Little Free Library for the studio. A Little Free Library is a little house-like structure that holds books for passers-by to look through and take for their own. The general rule is “Take A Book – Leave A Book”. I was charmed by this and thought it was a perfect match for outside of a creative writing studio.
The Little Free Library ended up being a very popular place. Folks who went to the Farmer’s Market made a point of stopping by and choosing a book for the week. People who were waiting for buses at the transit center across the street would run over and grab a book for their commute. Children loved that we had a concrete lion sitting under the Little Free Library and they talked to him and patted him while their parent chose a book. There’s a whole story of how that little lion was stolen, how a new lion was chosen, and then that little lion found his way home – but that’s in earlier Moments! You can see it in the 11/21/2019 entry. Here’s the link: http://www.kathiegiorgio.org/11-21-19/
One of my favorite moments with the Little Free Library was the day I was walking across the city parking lot right next to our building. A man came around from the front and I saw he was carrying a book. He looked at me, at the book, then at me again, and he shouted, “Hey! This is YOU! I just got this book from the Little Free Library around the corner, and it’s YOU!”
He had no idea I lived there. And yes, I do sometimes put my own books out.
He was thrilled. I had to sign the book for him.
But after 7 years, our Little Free Library was suffering from rotting wood. It was time for a new one. So I purchased our second library this past August. The new one is bright red, and it came with a metal roof instead of wooden…much less chance of wood rot. I set it up and business continued as normal.
Until a couple weeks ago, when I noticed the few books that were in the library had fallen over. I went to straighten them and realized I couldn’t open the door. It had a little wooden block that turned to allow the door to open and close, and it was wedged tight. Michael tried it; my son tried it. It wouldn’t move. I didn’t want to force it as I was afraid it would break.
I put in an email to the Little Free Library organization to ask what to do. While I waited, I reached out to my community neighbors and posted a message on the Next Door app. I asked if anybody knew what could fix this problem.
Well, I was amazed. Not only did many people have great suggestions, but one man, named Justin, offered to take a look at it. He came over, unwedged the block, and then volunteered to replace the crude block with an actual latch. He came and went quietly – I never even knew he was here. When he released the block, a teeny tiny bit of paint was taken with it, and Jason took the block with him so he could match the paint and come back and make the Little Free Library look brand new again. All on his own time. Which, like everybody’s, is valuable.
Can I say I was amazed again? This little bit of human kindness had a big impact on me. What a wonderful thing to do.
We’ve had a rough couple weeks in Wisconsin. There was a road rage shooting in Oak Creek. A mass shooting in Kenosha. A single mother was shot in Milwaukee and her 3-year old little boy is missing and has been, for a week now. Every year in October, the Women’s Center in Waukesha puts up purple silhouettes of women, complete with dates representing when a specific woman was killed through domestic violence – someone stole one of the silhouettes. Senseless things. Awful things. Violent things. Soul-shattering things.
And in the middle of the chaos, a man comes to fix a Little Free Library, owned by someone he doesn’t even know. And because of him, I can continue offering books to passers-by. Children. Harried workers. Anyone who needs to find comfort and joy and entertainment in words and stories.
I needed that kindness. We all do. Jason’s kindness to me allows me to extend kindness to others, through the Little Free Library.
Thank you, Jason. Thank you to everyone that helped with advice and encouraging words.
And yes, that helps. Despite. Anyway.