I should be writing my last final for this quarter but I cannot concentrate on it. Instead, I cannot stop thinking about a moment from earlier today.< I was shelving books at work today, just walking mindlessly trying to find the right call number when it happened. I took a breath and stopped dead. I closed my eyes and took in a deeper breath. Ah, the smell of old books. Oh, but it was more than that. It was the smell of my childhood. In my childhood home, my grandpa built a wall-to-wall library the week we moved in. I was 6 months old and as I grew into the 15-yr-old that moved out of that house, I grew fascinated by the books housed by those shelves. A lot were classics, some were the infinite volumes of an encyclopedia, others were part of the collection of books my grandma used to teach before she retired. Chemistry book, after chemistry book with the odd physics and biology book mixed in. Sometimes, I would pull out one of those books, crack it open and pretend I understood what their pages told me about the world around me (and inside me). More than once, my grandma found me sitting there on the floor reading one of her books and she would call me over to the table. There she would find an easy to understand subject and she would teach me. I knew the basics of how carbon bondings worked before I entered middle school.
It’s not just any old book smell, it’s a specific smell. A smell I cannot describe but it takes me back to the days when my favorite crayon breaking was the worst thing ever and all I wanted to do was to play with my Barbies. But even then, I had a fascination with books and with learning. I learned the basics of Chemistry, Biology and Physics from the smartest woman I will ever know, my grandmother.
She is the reason I try so hard, she’s the one I want to make proud, because it was her that taught me the importance of an education. It was my grandma, Memi as I called her, that never gave me the choice not go to college.