Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Check Out the Library

Reading has been one of my favorite things since I became literate, which I don’t actually remember becoming. During the summers of my elementary school years I spent the hot and humid Houston afternoons before the invention of air conditioning reading whatever I could get my hands on. My cousin, Raina, and I traded Hardy Boy novels and volumes in the Brains Benton mystery series. I also became a fan of Freddy the Detective novels, stories of a pig who also solved crimes. I enjoyed the science fiction of Robert Heinlein, especially the ones that dealt with time travel.

One of my favorite excursions during those summers was accompanying my mom on her weekly shopping trip to Weingarten’s supermarket on 43rd street. She would drop me off at the Oak Forest Library so I could turn in one armload of books and gather another. It was air conditioned in that building and I could browse between the stacks for an hour or so.

Were time travel possible back then, and could I have ventured forty-five years into the future, I would have been astounded. I would find my son Alan living around the corner from that very library, down the street from my high school, married and raising my granddaughter. I would have seen my wife taking that little girl to visit the very same library, checking out her own armload of reading material.

Then I would have observed something even more amazing. Alan is an architect. And there he is remodeling my library!

I haven’t been inside that building for more than forty years now. But the next time I do it will be completely renewed. I have seen the virtual version as I have wandered through the 3-D rendering on Alan’s computer screen.

My children constantly astound me. Must be their mother’s genes.

Added 3/25/11 -- Two years later the project is complete and wins an AIA Design Award!