21 October 2006

While We Were Out

One week ago today, I woke up with a surge of nesting adrenaline, but there was little nesting for me to do that day. Instead, my job was simply to get out of the way while my mom, my aunt, my sister, and their crew transformed our second bedroom into a nursery.

By 9 am, they had all arrived, so we exited for a leisurely breakfast, a trip to the "Faces of Katrina" exhibit at artspace (fantastic, if emotionally draining), and my prenatal massage (oh my! fabulous). Then I spent the afternoon grading English 101 exams and watching the Detroit Tigers win their berth to the World Series while Micah changed out switches or some geek thing like that at work. By 7 pm, they were done and ready for us to see the new room.

It's hard to say how much we love the space. The colors, the canvas painting, the book wall, the giraffes, the new chest of drawers, the books, the quilt! Mom sewed her fingers off, Emily was Martha as usual, Vicki researched books and painted beautifully, Dan brought bright rugs and updated the blinds etc, Randy did whatever they told him (I'm guessing), and even Craig showed up at some point to help everything finish. So the room makes me happy because it's lovely but also because it represents such loving work from the fam.

They took inspiration from Grandma Bachman's claim that books are our friends. Primarily meant to warn us against setting open books upside down in such a way as breaks their bindings, this phrase now seems largely and simply symbolic of her. A lover of words and books of all sorts, Grandma went to work for BDalton when Pa was finally stationed stateside in San Antonio, when her last daughter was leaving home and most women would probably consider themselves free to just hang out. She retired several years later as manager of the largest BDalton in San Diego.

She often sent us boxes of books, and we were surely not faithful to read them as we should. No doubt we did not always treat them as our friends. But Grandma taught us something of her own lifestyle in the sending and the saying. I have always regarded books as mystical repositories of great things, objects of art that decorate my space. And I often think of those thoughts and decorating notions as Grandma's doing.

So it seems right that this particular influence would continue to the bean. May our child love words and ideas more than we do and somehow know even from the earliest breathing moments that books are indeed your friends.


Brent and Kat said...

Beautiful! If a child can grow up with but one ides, "Books are our friend" seems like a great place to start. Love your writing style... It's like you were trained in it or something??? *grin*

Howard said...

I know this is off-topic, but... Way to go in bringing Lauren Winner into town! How did you score that one?

Anyway, I am very excited about getting to hear her speak and, moreover, hope that her talks with start some important dialogues here in Shreveport.

Random fact: One guy from our congregation (Jim Broyles) actually had her husband as a camp counselor.

Jen Strange said...

Howard, thanks for the off-topic mention. I'm excited to be part of bringing her here and have the same hopes as you.

The short answer to your question is simply that we asked and she said yes. The longer answer involves the fact that Centenary has funds to bring scholars like her, and the committee approving such expenditures okayed the proposal.

What's the congregation you mention here? I hope you bring them all :) At least Jim Broyles, who surely should meet her (unfortunately, Griff won't be coming with her).

Have you heard about all her public events--like the morning breakfast that asks for RSVPs? Let me know if you want more info and I'll send it your way . . . or I should just post it here on the blog anyway.