Of course, I wasn't a bad kid (I didn't develop my bad side until I got to college) and I wasn't really mischievous; I was what I would define as a 'non-thinker.' A good example of this had to do with this library we had at our home.
My dad liked to make things and one of the things he made was shelving for a large room we had upstairs. It was called the 'library,' tho it was really a bedroom.
On these shelves was a collection of wonderful books. They were all hardcover, most very old, and some were collector books.
The other kids in my neighborhood didn't have anything like this in there homes so they thought it was very cool. My neighbor/friend, Lynn, was looking through them one day. Lynn was a preemie and weighed about 2 lbs when she was born, had super frizzy hair and was the shape of a string bean. But she was BRIGHT. Very Bright. Capital V. Capital B.
"Hey, can I borrow one of these books?"
I began to devise a plan to get some candy money.
"Sure! But we charge a quarter a day."
This seemed like a fair price to Lynn (Who maybe wasn't as bright as I remembered..)
"Okay! "She said. "You gonna keep track of how much I owe you?"
"Sure!" and I ran downstairs to get a permanent marker (Which I wasn't suppose to touch after a particularly creative day when I drew on the living room walls.)
I took the book from her hands and drew something like this on the inside of it:
"Sign it there."
I still remember the book. It was "Aesop's Fables.' (more on that a little later..)
Lynn kept the book for two days so I 'earned' myself fifty cents. Easy money!
So, as I'm walking home from the corner store, eating my tootsie rolls, I hit upon an idea. A potential Gold Mine; I would put a thing up on the school bulletin board, advertising books to rent!
It took me a couple of weeks to draw the sign-in sheet in all of those old books. Now, remember, I was maybe seven years old. What did I know about running a library? And what did all the other kids know about borrowing books? Most couldn't read anything much beyond 'See Dick, See Jane, see Sally, Run Spot!"
I advertised my library by word of mouth (my word, my mouth..) Soon I had a troop of kids following me upstairs to my library. I checked to make sure they each had a quarter in their hands. Yup. I was good to go.
There were probably a half dozen kids so I was thrilled to have myself $1.50. The last of them was printing her name in the book she was 'borrowing,' when my mom entered the room.
She picked up on book, saw my rudimentary sign-in form drawn in black marker. I watched the color rise in her face. Red. It was red.
She took a book out of another child's hands and opened it to the sign-in form. She was not a happy person. She reached on to one of the shelves and pulled out another book, and another, and another, to see if I had written in each of them, which of course, I had.
She quietly told all my 'borrowers' to leave, and she gave them each back their quarters. She could hardly even talk to me, so all she said was "Why did you do this?"
"Go to your room, NOW!!"
And of course, I RAN while I had the chance, grateful that my hiney didnt get a blistering.
Now, here it is all these years later and I am very careful with my books. All my books are in pristine condition and I wouldn't dream of writing in one. But I do have this one, the old copy of Aesop's Fables that my little friend, Lynn, borrowed long long ago:
Week Three Summary
3 years ago