One of the traditions in Mountain Lakes is that the first grade classes walk over to the library so that the kids can get their own library cards. Will’s class trip was yesterday morning. It was a beautiful, sunny autumn morning. A couple other dads and a handful of moms joined the class.
One of the joys of being home is that I get to join the boys’ classes on their field trips and school parties. One of the things I love most about these events is that I get a little glimpse into parts of their personalities that I don’t get to see at home.
When we got to the library, the librarian told the kids a little bit about the history of the public library in Mountain Lakes. One of the things that she told the group about is General Frederick Castle‘s Congressional Medal of Honor, which is on display at the library.
Will and I visited the display afterwards and we read about General Castle’s heroics in World War II. We read about how after the engine on his fighter plane caught fire and he and his crew fell under intense enemy fire, General Castle refused to jettison his ammunitions to lighten the plane’s load and regain speed and maneuverability because he was flying over friendly troops. He continued to man the controls of the plane while he commanded his crew to parachute to safety from the failing plane. He died when the plane crashed after its gas tanks exploded with him at the controls.
After Will picked up his library card and checked out his first two books, he and some other boys from class were hanging out in the reading room that houses General Castle’s Medal of Honor. While I was lingering outside the room looking the new arrivals book table, I overheard Will telling the other kids that they should bow at the display. One of the other kids asked why, and Will said “to pay our respects.”
Of course, a few moments later he was back to the parts of his personality that I see every day. Asking the librarian if they have any books on animatronics. Making a bunch of robot noises and sound effects. Giving me an annoyed look because I wanted to take a picture of him with his new library card because I thought it was funny that he wrote his name both upside down and backwards.