Do you remember the book mobile?


Do you remember the book mobile?


Dorothy Graham Gast


The Christmas I was ten, I asked for and received a 10 book set of reading classics.  It had Heidi, Robinson Crusoe, Black Beauty,Little Women, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Tale of Two Cities, Call of the Wild, Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, and Treasure Island. I read and reread these and finally began to loan them to family and friends.

The Bookmobile, a library van, brought fresh material to Romulus School every month and to our house during the summer, since our family read more than the rest of the community put together. Later we  had the Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. They became the most passed around books of all.

1953 Bookmobile


Reading was a priority in our home in the last half of the 20thcentury. Every member of the household had their own favorite genre and media. Magazines like Good Housekeeping, Farm Journal, Lady’s Home Journal, and Reader’s Digest were considered as essential as a new pair of school shoes in September.  In fact there may have been times desire for reading meant toes were squeezed into outgrown footwear a little longer.good housekeeping

In the mahogany bookshelf Daddy had bought at the scratch and dent sale at Rosenbush Grocery and Feed Store was a set of 8 Mark Twain books, a set of World Book Encyclopedias, a set of Lands and Peoples books, a huge Webster’s Dictionary and atlas. collier's encyclopedia

There was another set of Collier’s Encyclopedias in the bottom shelf that were too heavy in weight and subject matter to tempt us children. A secondary book area was made from apple crates stacked under the double hung windows in the living room. The Bible was by each person’s bed with their Sunday School book.

When suppertime debate became too spirited, Daddy would send us to the bookshelf to find support for out arguments. Often there might be 3 or more encyclopedias on the table as we presented our views. You had to be very careful since the books very considered priceless and no marks, stains, or turned down pages were allowed.

Everyone in the neighborhood knew what a bookish family we were and that books could be read or borrowed at our house. Report and project times might have students from County High School coming by to do research.

The summer between 5th and 6th grade there was a contest at the school to see who could read the most books. Charles Livingstone, who lived over the hill, and I tied with 104 books.  No baby books accepted. We read books by Grace Livingstone Hill and Zane Grey, Mark Twain and the brothers Grimm, Jack London and Charles Dickens,  and most of the Tarzan books. No cheating because an adult would pick the name of a book and the reader had to report on it. I thought it unfair that Charles had as many as I, since our family had to chop cotton and his didn’t.



VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the pastThis book is a collection of household tips, medical cures, clothing care and old recipes from the 1800’s and 1900’s. Many of the tips, such as the household cleaners, cooking tips and ways to control pests, still work and are helpful in today’s ‘green’ environment while others such as ‘how to cure a dog of eating eggs’ will make you laugh. Either way, this book will help you appreciate the difficult life your grandparents endur

About Dorothy Graham Gast

Dorothy Gast lives in Romulus, Alabama on the Graham family farm. She taught in Tuscaloosa County Schools for nearly 30 years.
She has a ”Mine, yours, and Ours” family. She has volunteered in numerous organizations after her husband’s eight year struggle with Alzheimers’ ended.
She helped organize a volunteer fire department after she was 60 and served as board secretary and nationally certified firefighter after extensive training.
Her attempts to get the community reading failed, but she contributed books to the new Sipsey Valley high school from the library in her home friends helped her establish.

She is known locally by the silhouettes she cuts free hand of children. She began to write nostalgia stories after a grandson asked her to write down the stories often told at family events.

2 Responses to Do you remember the book mobile?

  1. Eleanor Greene Hemmes says:

    My Mother, Tommie Lacy, was Montgomery County Librarian for many years and went on the bookmobile around the County. They stopped at grocery stores, gas stations and front yards of cooperating families. I rode with them once and it was a special time for me and for the people that she served. Groups were waiting for the bookmobile to show up at every stop. She and the staff filled special requests for individuals who wanted to read only cookbooks, mysteries and romance novels. She enjoyed the service she supplied and so did her recipients. Eleanor

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