Once, when I was a baby, my parents left me in a shop.
I blame the Camps Bay Library.
We had this ritual throughout my childhood. Every Saturday we would split into two groups (I’m the youngest of six, so we couldn’t all fit into one car) and we’d go down to the Camps Bay Village. This was before it was all shi-shi and chocolate-croissanty.
One car would go to the library to get our book stash for the week, and the other car would go to the cafe, for rolls, milk and vienna’s, and then we’d swap. The library pack would go to the cafe and the cafe pack would go to the library, then we’d all meet back at home for hotdogs for lunch. That was our Saturdays. Religiously.
One Saturday afternoon, Tiffy, who ran the cafe with her husband, phoned the house (she must have looked our number up in the telephone directory – it was the seventies, you could) and told my parents they’d left me behind in the shop in my pram earlier, and I wasn’t crying or anything, but maybe they could come pick me up.
I can see how it could happen, you’ve got six kids, it’s a lot, it’s easy to lose track of one of them here or there. Plus there’s the books. I always thought maybe they were just so mesmerised and excited by the selection they’d just taken out, that they couldn’t concentrate on anything else.
I made it home safely that day, and I grew up in that library in Camps Bay. It fuelled my life-long affair with books, libraries and librarians. Somehow you just know that when you meet a librarian they’re going to be good people. The villain in a Bond movie is never a librarian for his cover-up day job, and super heroes spend little to no time attending to emergencies in libraries.
Janusz and Mary Ann, the Fishhoek Librarians, do a phenomenal job curating and executing this lovely FREE festival, which will be on from now till Saturday 19th March (nudge, nudge – you should go – click here for the programme).