22 March 2011

the library // st. nick cruises the mississippi


to prove that i don't necessarily cringe at every approaching library patron or roll my eyes with every incoming phone call, a nice story for you today!

a patron called the library to ask if our microfiche reader was in working order. as this semi-ancient piece of machinery hasn't seen a user in several years, there wasn't an immediate answer to his inquiry. we turned the machine on, stared at it, and crossed our fingers for a sign of life. thirty seconds later, it sputtered and began to hum quietly. our patron said he'd be in shortly and that we'd recognize him as santa.

the elf himself entered the building a few hours later and, indeed, looked quite jolly, white-bearded, and well-fed. santa was on a mission to find his maternal grandparents and his search was leading him down the mississippi river.

santa, apparently, had been adopted and had only learned the identity of his birth mother ten years ago (as we all know, santa is quite old, so i don't think he actually got to meet his birth mother). he was extremely passionate about finding his roots, which, naturally, included his maternal grandparents. santa had their names, birth dates, and death dates and was looking to find a copy of their obituaries (one from 1956 and one from 1979), more than likely on microfilm or microfiche.

while i was looking up newspaper archives across the country, santa told me that his grand-daddy had constructed a makeshift float and had taken to the mississippi with his woman, heavily pregnant with santa's biological mother, in the early 1920s. apparently grand-daddy's float, starting the journey in the midwest, arrived at the mississippi delta some time later, but not with the same lady with whom he'd started. santa needed to find out when, where, and why his grandmother had been cast aside.

apparently there are a few articles in the delta democrat times that chronicle grand-daddy's journey. after researching its availability, i sent santa on his merry way in hot pursuit of his family legacy. he told me to be good and that he'd know if i wasn't (it's the library - there has to be a little creepiness to each story, right?).

these types of inquiries are the reason i love my job. there really is nothing better than connecting patrons with correct and authoritative information, especially when it's the big guy who is in charge of my material happiness each december.

1 comment:

  1. What an awesome story! I can definitely see how these sort of incidents make the job. :)