Childhood Trauma

I very precisely remember the day my mom took me to the local library to get my very own library card. I was five years old and reading fluently, so naturally I was super excited to finally be able to check comic books out on my own special card. We walked up to the counter and my mom said to the nice lady – whose colleague she was to become a couple of years later – that I was ready for my own library card. I stood there, beaming, excited, and then Frau S. looked down at me and said, “I’m sorry, you have to be at least six years old to get your own library card.” I was crushed, humiliated, bitter with the unfairness of the whole concept. I did not get a library card that day but had to wait for my birthday.

Twenty-two years later this particular trauma caught up with me. In my second or third week here in Annapolis Karl took me to the public library, where I was going to sign up for a card. Or so I thought. We walked up to the counter and I, almost as excited as I was at the age of five, declared my wish (myself this time), and the nice lady looked up to me and said, “I’m going to need an ID with your address on it.” A what? I was crushed. My green card hadn’t arrived yet and I had nothing to show. “Oh”, I responded. “Well then.” With my head hanging down I retreated from the counter. There is nothing I can do but wait for the day my green card shows up in the mail. I’m guessing my birthday won’t change anything about that this time around.


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