Wednesday, January 19, 2011

we were there...

Back when I was in grammar school, we'd line up and head to the library.  The library was about the only place at R.A. Mitchell that I liked.  There were some times of exceptions.  Anytime we had to be inoculated/vaccinated for something, the library was used as needle central.  Frankly, I don't think that was a good idea.  A kid just didn't know if he was going to  get to peruse or get bruised.  Fact of the matter is - anytime we lined up single-file and walked down along those drab green walls - we never knew what we were getting in for.

But I digress.  Let's go back to the library.

My favorite series of books at the library were the 'We Were There' series.  I remember the one above the most, 'We Were There When Grant Met Lee At Appomattox'. As you can draw from this particular title,  the books were about certain events in our nation's history, as seen through the eyes of fictional children.   Each story was checked for factual accuracy by an authority on a books particular focus on history. These were probably the first chapter books that I remember reading.  The Appomattox book interested me the most because even as a kid I was interested in that era.

These historical novels were released between 1955 and 1963 by Grosset & Dunlap.  They have been out of print for some thirty-something years.   I remember all the We Were There books had to have been well read - given the physical condition of each copy.  The books at Mitchell didn't have jackets, but rather the color illustration was printed on the cover of each book.  Each story was chock full of line art illustrations.  It was a good thing.

On a side note.  I didn't learn much about the Civil War throughout my education.  There was a history textbook that we were issued, Know Alabama that had stories from our War Between the States.  I remember being disappointed that the chapters were mere brushed over.  Maybe I would have enjoyed history more as a child if the good stuff wasn't overlooked.  Even though my history teachers down through the years failed to give us more than names and dates...we'll always have the library.
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