A couple of weeks ago, March 29, to be exact, I wrote about citizen libraries, little facilities no bigger than a bread box where one can leave or take a book to read, courtesy of a neighbor. The blue box in my area got run down the other day, but someone set it up again and though it’s battered now, people still leave books there. I retrieved one today, a book published in 1989 called Plain and Simple: A Woman’s Journey to the Amish, by Sue Bender. It’s a memoir that begins with Bender’s interest in Amish quilts and ends with her spending time with the artisans, sharing a life without the television, refrigerators or telephones. She begins her narrative with a simple prologue:
I had an obsession with the Amish. Plain and simple. Objectively it made no sense. I, who worked hard at being special, fell in love with a people who valued being ordinary. (Plain and Simple by Sue Bender, published by HarperCollins, 1989.)
Bender’s words reminded me of another’s: Emily Dickinson’s.
I’m a Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – Too?
Learning to be a nobody is probably one of the hardest lessons to learn and one of the most freeing when understood. A few exist who can teach the secret. The Amish are among them. Bender’s little paperback, written 24 years ago, was donated by someone who wanted to pass the secret along. Thanks to the citizen’s library, the book and I have finally connected.
(Courtesy of Amazon.com)