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Lambert's Groceteria

Not life, but good life, is to be chiefly valued - Socrates

I came across this quote a few years ago. I was taking a course at Western University - An Introduction to Ancient Greece and Rome. We took a cursory look at Socrates as a philosopher and one of the founders of Western philosophy.

Wisdom begins in wonder. - Socrates

Some of Socrates’ quotes resonated with me, especially those about a quest for knowledge. 


The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. - Socrates

I grew up on a farm, in a small, tight knit rural community. I enjoyed the feeling of belonging to a community, but even as a little girl I knew there was something missing. I just didn’t know what it was.

We had the old crank telephone system. There were four families on our party line. Our telephone number was 28 ring 24 and our ring was long - short - long - short. One grandmother, who lived around the corner was 28 ring 21 and the other grandmother who lived in the village was 65. If I wanted to call my grandmother, I picked up the handset, turned the crank and waited for Marie (the operator) to pick up. She would answer with her usual “Hello there, this is Marie”. I would answer “Hello Mrs. Ross, I would like to talk to Grandma”. She would say, “Hello Cindy, which Grandma do you want to talk to today?” If a family in the community needed help, Marie would send a long ring to every house. We knew that was a call for help and every call for help was answered. There was a level of comfort, security and community.

We did our grocery shopping at the “Red and White” in the village. My mother ran a “tab” and paid every month when the milk cheque came in. We visited her mother before doing our groceries. My grandmother would give me a dime and send me to the store to buy myself a treat. I was thrilled to have the dime, my mother and grandmother were thrilled to have a few minutes alone.

I have never had a sweet tooth and candy bars never interested me. Across the street from the Red and White was Lambert’s Groceteria. Lambert’s carried comic books. I used that dime to buy a new comic book every week. One day, I walked into Lambert’s Groceteria and everything had changed - the small library had moved into a corner of the store. I didn’t know what a library was, I didn’t realize that anyone could have that many books, I couldn’t imagine that one could borrow a book, read it, return it and borrow another!!

The librarian somehow recognized that I was a reader and took me under her wing. She gave me a Nancy Drew book. I devoured it. She had two more waiting next week and I devoured those. She always had a supply waiting for me. I moved from the Nancy Drew series to The Secret Garden, Peter Pan, The Outsiders, Catcher in the Rye, ......

Finally, I knew what was missing. Books provided a look at the world outside of my small community. Books answered some of my questions and urged me to ask more questions. Books provided me a little bit of knowledge and showed me how little I knew.

The ongoing quest to learn new things became my driving force. The librarian at Lambert’s Groceteria opened that door. It is an ongoing journey. I read and I read and I read. I take distance courses. I ask questions. I try to learn new things.

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel - Socrates

I do value this new good life and I appreciate how little I know. The flame has been kindled and I am in awe of the potential this new life offers.

Disclaimer:

This blog is curated by the AEBC, but welcomes contributions from members and non-members alike. The thoughts, views, and opinions expressed in the Blind Canadians Blog are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEBC, its members, or any of its donors and partners.
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