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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Jeanne Adams got her love of books from her dad

I'm happy to host Jeanne Adams, my fellow Romance Bandit here today. In the spotlight, though, is her dad -- the man who taught her to love words and books.

What a wonderful time to join the Posse for a blog! I love that you’re paying tribute to dads this week. It’s a cool coincidence for me, since I’m in the middle of planning my dad’s 90th Birthday celebration. Needless to say, we’re pulling out all the stops. Not every day somebody turns 90, you know.

Now, as you can guess, he was an older dad when I came along. I’m the fourth of four and an “Ooops!” baby at that. Ha! One of the things I’m fascinated with is that my dad was born in 1919. He rode a horse from their farm to school. (No car then, because cars were a newfangled gadget, and expensive too!) When my dad was ten, my grandfather did something men just didn’t do back then. He went to college. That one decision changed my father’s life forever. He saw what it meant to get an education, what broad and wide things there were in the world beyond their South Carolina farm. Although they returned to the farm, my father never returned to farming. He was a scholar to his bones and his path was set.

Grandmama wanted my dad to be a minister or a doctor. Although he served in the medical corps in WWII, Daddy was determined to do what he loved. He became a Librarian.

Now you’ll notice I capitalized that word. Thanks to my fad, I have the utmost respect for Librarians. He taught me that anything you want to know, you can learn in a library. Anything. It’s right there, in the stacks. When he was director of one of the many public libraries where he served, my dad did a contest. He put these huge three-foot letters up in the front windows. BRC. Then he held a contest for people to try and guess what they meant. A library is a B____ R_____ C____. He gave away what was then the equivalent of a gift certificate to a bookstore.

BRC. I’ll never forget it. Obscure? You bet. But that’s the way my father’s mind works. My mama was an English teacher who then became a Realtor. Between the Librarian and the English Teacher is it any wonder I love words and books and all manner of information? When I began to write, in earnest with the goal of publication, he was one of my biggest supporters. How can you fail with that kind of support?

My dad gave me a great legacy just by doing his job; being in the library so much, going in with him on Sundays when the library was closed (we had it as our private domain on those days – ahhhhh, bliss!), being read to, learning to read, and even just the smell of books will always be things I associate with my father. Just delicious.

So which of your parents taught you to read? Or was it a teacher? Do you remember your first visit to a library? Or a bookstore?

And for a copy of Dark and Deadly, my June release, care to guess what BRC might mean? It defines a library, but it is REALLY obscure…Grins. Give it a shot. Even if no one gets Dad’s little joke, I’ll pick the most creative suggestion…

Photos:

Top -- Model T from the era when Jeanne's dad was born.

Middle -- Jeanne's dad in his WWII uniform.

Bottom -- A current photo of Jeanne's brother and dad.

Labels:

50 Comments:

At 8:00 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Jeanne, I love this post and your dad is so cute! How luck are you to have such a wonderful man in your life. Happy 90th Birthday to your dad. That's wonderful. I hope he enjoys the party.

I am jealous that you had the library to yourself on Sundays! What fun! Has your dad read your books?

I am dying to know what BRC means! Books, Readers, College is my guess??!

My best friend back in high school taught me to love books and my oldest sister gave me my first romance to read. I am forever grateful to both of them!

Thanks for the fun post, Jeanne!

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Jeanne,
I so enjoyed the post and your family pictures. I learned to read in first grade with my teacher. I wish I could remember her name. I loved reading so much that I asked the teacher if I could read instead of watch Sesame Street (a new program at the time)which for some reason they let us watch in school. I also remember the joy of summer reading. I'd beg my mom to take me to the library because I'd finish my books before my sisters!

As to your question about BRC, I'm going to guess Books Read Cheaply!

 
At 9:25 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Hi, Jeanne!!!
My 88 year old uncle came through town last weekend. He and my aunt are on their way to the Vermont Quilt show (where she won last year)driving their camper and spending nights in Walmart parking lots....
My sisters and I had lunch with them and our memories are very fresh of our father who died in 2001. Our father, the Army Colonel, would never have spent nights in a Walmart parking lot.

I learned to read because my older sisters knew how to read and I desperately wanted to be like them. I have vague memories of my father reading to us at night, but it was my mother and aunt that LOVED to read. I got it from them.

Libraries are Big Research Centers????

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Theresa! I am lucky indeed. :>

It was so fun to have the library all to ourselves. We used to race the book carts. Shhhhh! Don't tell...

Daddy has read my books. He likes them - "..except for those naughty bits..."

 
At 10:38 AM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Mo! Thanks for stopping by! That's so cool about your teacher. I loved all my early teachers because they read to us. I remember having the teacher read The BoxCar Children. I have such vivid memories of that book because she read it aloud. :>

Love your guess on BRC...that isn't it, but its a great guess!

 
At 10:39 AM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, Diane, that's a good one! Truly Daddy's version was obscure, but I really like yours! :>

That's so funny about the WalMart parking lot. And your dad was a Colonel? Wow! :>

 
At 10:45 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Doesn't that having the library to yourself sound fabulous?

Jeanne, I can SO see you racing book carts. :)

I am drawing a total blank on BRC other than I think the B is for Books.

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger Nancy said...

Hi, Jeanne--what a great story!

I learned to read in school, but I remember reading picture books with my grandfather, who was my daycare before I started kindergarten. He did the reading, but I remember watching his finger below the words.

I'll be forever grateful to the librarian in our little town when I was growing up. Mrs. Wally always had something to recommend when I walked in. I sometimes went to the library with my father, who was an avid reader, and sometimes rode my bike there. It was, back then, the kind of little town where you could drop the bike's kick stand, walk away, and know the bike would be there when you got back. And the basket held lots of books.

Anyway, Mrs. Wally was always ready with a suggestion--sometimes, several. I never stopped to think about it. Her readiness was something I just accepted, as kids so often do, as part of the natural order.

Looking back on those days, however, I suspect she knew she had a "live one," a kid who really loved to read, and wanted to encourage that. My experience as a teacher has given me antennae for students who're truly interested in a subject and can be encouraged to go deeper than the rest of the class. I would bet librarians have something similar.

 
At 10:50 AM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Trish! Racing book carts was TOTALLY fun. The book elevator was pretty cool too....grins. And those big bings, the ones with the canvas sides? Great for hide-and-seek.

There were some spooky parts too, when the stacks were dark, but that had its own mystique.

Oddly enough, in my father's obscure lexicon, B did NOT stand for books...

 
At 10:54 AM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Nancy! I love that image of the small town library and the bike with the book basket. :> I wish I'd know my grandparents, esp. since yours sounds so fun.

Care to guess on the BRC?

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Nancy said...

Diane, I envy you having people around who knew remember your father's youth. My father's parents died before I was born, and almost everyone in my parents' generation is gone now. My father has one surviving sister, who was much younger than he was, and I've lost track of her.

I can't see my folks spending the night in a Wal-Mart (or any other) parking lot, either. I think it's cool that your aunt and uncle are so practical.

 
At 10:56 AM, Blogger Nancy said...

Mo H., I remember begging to go to the library. It was my summer mainstay. :-)

 
At 11:25 AM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

I still love the library, don't you, Nancy?

And I'm like you, I wish I had people who knew my parents and g-parents. Such a small family that there are few left...

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Jeanne, I'm curious -- what are your dad's favorite types of books to read? Does he have a favorite author? Besides you, of course. :)

 
At 11:41 AM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

It's funny, Trish, for all that he worked his entire career in a library, my father's not a book hound. He loves non-fiction, histories, and biographies, but he does't buy them. He gets them from the library! Ha! He'll read the occasional fiction book, (including mine!) but mostly it's the informational kind of reading that he prefers. My Step-mother, on the other hand, is an avid fiction reader.

 
At 11:47 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

My Walmart-parking, 88 year old uncle does read my books and he wants to donate a set of them to his local library. So I'm going to send him some as soon as he gets back to Florida from Vermont.

He even asked a lady who was reading a romance in a doctor's waiting room if she'd ever heard of me. She said yes, she's read my books(!!)

 
At 12:45 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Diane, it's so wonder you love that uncle so much, since he's so supportive. :>

How fun that he's selling your books in the doc's office!

 
At 12:54 PM, Blogger Anna Sugden said...

Hi Jeanne & Trish and Noodlers! Popping in from the Bandit's Lair to join the celebration - the Amazon pigeon tells me your book's arrival is imminent (so I'm wishing him a fair wind and safe flying!)

My guess is Book Readers Centre

My Dad encouraged both me and my sister to read - to this day we're both book hounds. I'm so lucky my lovely hubby is as much of a reader as I am - it accounts for the more than 40 bookshelves and numerous boxes full of books (and a TBR room).

One of my favourite reading memories is as a child living in Afghanistan, someone managed to get hold of some English language books for me to read - I was so excited!

 
At 1:09 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi Anna! Great to "see" you! Ooh, I'm jealous..a TBR ROOM. I love that. I'm trying to figure out how to squeeze yet one more bookshelf in my house, so to have a room would be divine! :>

How totally fun that you have that memory from childhood. Isn't it great to have parents that encourage us to read? Even if you don't most people had or have teachers that do. Like Nancy's librarian and her suggestions.

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Diane, your uncle sounds like a really cool guy.

Anna, I can't believe I didn't know you lived in Afghanistan as a child. How fascinating.

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger Tawny said...

What a wonderful tribute to your dad, Jeanne! I love the pictures and wow on the 90th birthday!!! Thats so awesome.

My love of books started pretty young, I remember my little golden book collection, it was more important to me than my dolls, even!! My mom taught me to read, if I recall.

 
At 2:19 PM, Blogger Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, what a lovely post. And wasn't your dad an attractive man? So much life and intelligence and humor in that face! I lost my dad in 2001 and there's not a day goes by when I don't miss him. He wasn't particularly bookish - my mum was the one who was the big book reader in the family. But he read the paper back to back every single day and he never accepted received wisdom on anything. Which when you're a kid can be VERY wearing but which I've since learned to appreciate. Really independent thinking is so rare and Dad was a skeptic to his backbone. He had this wonderful ability to cut through the guff and this absolute impatience with sentimental hypocrisy that I think were both wonderful lessons to learn about the world.

A BRC? Clearly 'B' stands for 'book'. A Book Respite Center?

By the way, my mum grew up in a poor farming area in Queensland in Australia and they used to ride horses to school in the 1930s. It gave her a lifelong hatred for horses! ;-)

 
At 2:29 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Tawny! Great to see you. Aren't those Golden Books a treasure? I have so many of them for my kids that I remember from childhood. Then again, there are some fabulous "new" ones too!

 
At 2:31 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Anna C! How fun that your Dad was a newspaper reader too. My Dad still reads it cover to cover, although he decries the lack of good and proper English in the journalists these days. Ha! I think he conceived the same dislike of horses your Mum did too. He would never let me have one. *pout*

Actually, you will be so surprised when I reveal what BRC means...and B ISN'T for Book.

I'll give a hint. B is for Bank.

 
At 2:39 PM, Blogger robynl said...

Book Reading Card was my guess but now I see Bank for B.
I, too, wanted to be a Librarian when I was in my early teens but never did anyting about it. Sometimes I'm sorry I didn't.
Happy 90th to your awesome DAD.

 
At 2:45 PM, Blogger Anna Campbell said...

Brain Restoration Center?

Actually Dad was a huge stickler for correct English too which I must say has certainly rubbed off to my benefit. And he was a man of absolute principle which is something I always admired. Happy birthday to your dad!

Actually I couldn't read till I hit first grade or at least that's how I remember it - but I remember my brain just immediately clicked when I saw the words down there. I got impatient of waiting for someone to read me a story so I picked up a big Disney anthology in first grade and just started to read it. Haven't had a book out of my hands since!

 
At 2:46 PM, Blogger Anna Campbell said...

Brain Revival Center?

Brain Revving Course?

Bold Reading Cats?

Brazen Restoration Cads?

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Tawny, I had a Little Golden Book collection too. And it was a huge deal when I got to join the Weekly Reader Book Club, especially since we rarely had money for extras like books.

 
At 3:22 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hi RobynL! I tried to be a librarian too. Just didn't have it in me to be that quiet. Snork. Actually my degree is to do High School library work - uh, NO!

Thanks for the B-day wishes, I'll pass them along!

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Anna said: ...just started to read it. Haven't had a book out of my hands since!


Heehee. Yep. Since I started, I've never stopped either.

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh! I'm particularly fond of Brazen Restoration Center! :> Daddy would like that too, but his is so obscure.

A Library is a Bank of R____ C____

 
At 3:26 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ooops, that should be Brazen Restoration Cads. :>

Trish, I love the reader club for my boys, it keeps them interested in betwixt assignments or trips to the library or bookstore. I don't remember having it until much later, in school, like fifth or sixth grade. But my boys started bringing home the slips in kindergarten.

 
At 3:37 PM, Blogger Anna Campbell said...

Bank of Reading Cash?

 
At 4:17 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Now there would be a good one too! Howe about another clue:

Bank of Rec..... Co.....

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Dang, Jeanne, I'm still stumped.

 
At 5:18 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

See? I told you it was obscure. The newspaper in the town we were living in ran articles about it, and people guessed and guessed. It was so blinkin' bloody obscure that only one person got it after months of guessing. :>

Bank of Recorded Co.....

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Okay, I came back to see what BRC stood for...you're teasing us now! :)

Bank of Recorded Copies?

Bank of Recorded Companies

Bank of Recorded Copy

I will check back later...

 
At 7:11 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey again, THeresa! Bank of Recorded Copies is close...

 
At 7:32 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Bank of Recorded Civilization???

 
At 7:33 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oooh, close, Diane!

 
At 8:10 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Bank of Recorded Culture

 
At 8:15 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Oh, man, you almost have it Diane!

Do you want to try one last time, or should I reveal all? Grins.

 
At 8:25 PM, Blogger Anna Campbell said...

Bank of Recorded Cogitations?

 
At 8:27 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Snork. VERRRRA close, Anna!

 
At 8:56 PM, Blogger jo robertson said...

Hi, Jeanne! What a wonderful tribute to your father. He sounds like an amazing man for his time. It's hard to believe he was a year young than MY father (born in 1920) and I'M old enough to be YOUR mother. That's just weird.

My dad only went through the eighth grade. They were dirt poor Kentucky tobacco farmers and we joined the army young. He got his high school diploma in the service and a little college, but he valued education so much. He was so proud of his three children, a nurse, a school teacher, and a lawyer. He loved to brag about us.

I though BRC meant "Be reading constantly."

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hey Jo! Be Reading COnstantly would be a good one for it. Ha!

Okay, since I didn't hear back from Diane w/ a request for a second gues...

Drum roll please: rrrrrrrrrrmmmmmm!

Bank of Recorded Communication.

I TOLD you it was obscure. Grins. The guy who got it right was so flabbergasted. The way Dad saw it was books were recordings of every form of communication mankind knew at the time - before DVDs, VCRs, CDs et. And a Library housed all that wealth. Therefore, a Bank.

Makes sense that way, but boy, oh boy, people thought that was dumb. Snork.

I particularly liked Brazen Restoration Cads and Bank of Recorded Culture.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I like my answer better - Bank of Recorded Culture. But Brazen Restoration Cads is good, too.

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Yep, I like you answer better too, Diane. Similar concept though. Culture, communication, connection. As writers we connect, we communication and we both are part of and create culture, right?

I thought it was pretty cool, all things being equal. :>

 
At 11:05 PM, Blogger Anna Campbell said...

Jeanne, I already have Dark and Deadly. But I'm glad you like me cads! Great BRC, by the way!

 
At 7:46 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

Oh, Jeannie, I like it! Your dad is a sly one... That was fun! I'll never forget BRC!!!

 

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