There’s no reading in Fayette County!
August 1, 2008, 10:08 am
Filed under: Books, Library | Tags: , , ,

I am from a book-worm family. My father spent his early years getting into trouble because his mother wouldn’t teach him to read. In her defense, the theory in the 40’s (yes, my dad is that old) was that only teachers were qualified to teach anything, and parents would screw it up. So, she didn’t teach him to read. She did send him to school a year early to get him out of her hair. You know, because he did things like vacuum the water out of the toilet, and set the stove on fire.

When he did learn how to read, he never stopped. When I was little, he would read poetry to me at night. When I learned how to read, I practiced by reading poetry to him.

Shortly after that, I began reading the newspaper in the morning. He’s regretted teaching me how to read ever since.

I was an English major in college because I had room for an extra major. I wanted to take classes where I would read novels. English classes fit that bill. I am one third of a librarian as of today.

You might say that books are an integral part of my life.

So it astonished me to hear this story from Bear’s parents:

They went camping near Confluence, Fayette County last summer. We’re all going camping there this weekend, actually. There’s a pretty lake, nice campgrounds, fun stuff. His aunt and uncle were there, as well, and his uncle ran out of reading material. They decided to head into town to get some supplies and see if he could find a bookstore of some sort.

They didn’t see any, so they stopped in another store and asked where they might find some books.

The girl working at the counter said, mystified, “Books? Why would you want books?”

The closest they found was a shelf of Jesus books at the local grocery store. Bear’s uncle had to do without books for the rest of the trip.

I was astonished to hear this. I discussed it with Dan, who didn’t believe it was possible either. So, we did a google map search looking for the nearest libraries to Confluence. These people are poor, because it’s Fayette County, so free books would be best.

Confluence has the arrow. The nearest bookstores are in Uniontown, Connellsville and Somerset.

41 minutes to Uniontown!

31 minutes to Somerset!

Let’s look for bookstores, now.

My commentary about the names might be hard to read. I said “Really?” to Accident, I laughed at Normalville, and I questioned Elk Lick and Upper Turkeyfoot.

Really? Upper Turkeyfoot? Wouldn’t that be Turkey Ankle? Is there a Lower Turkeyfoot? What is a turkeyfoot? Why are you naming things after them? WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PART OF THE STATE.

I know, I know, I’m being judgmental. I grew up just past the Philly suburbs in a populated area. I moved to Pittsburgh. I work in a library system that has over 5 million volumes, and I have the entire Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh at my fingertips. I am from a different world, you might say, than the folks of Fayette County.

BUT MY GOD. These people have to drive at least a half hour to get to a library or a bookstore. No wonder that girl was mystified as to why someone would want to read.

We’re leaving to go there this afternoon. If I don’t return, it’s because I was captured and punished for my insolence of bringing reading material to the Anti-Book Bubble. Flagellation ensued.

Or the bugs ate me. One or the other.

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1 Comment so far
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Not as bad as First Fork, PA.
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&view=map&q=bookstore+loc:+first+fork,+Pennsylvania&ie=UTF8&z=9

However if you look at population density, it’s not too surprising.

Comment by Mike




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