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I Am Proud of My Childish Ways

Stanley Peter Jaskiewicz


  • Library Influence: Childhood library visits shaped a lifetime love of reading, fostering intellectual growth and curiosity.
  • Generosity and Impact: Donations to the library, particularly on hyperlexia, helped others navigate similar challenges effectively.
  • Reading Habits: Despite digital options, Stanley still prefers traditional books and appreciates the bookmobile's personal touch.
I Am Proud of My Childish Ways Tomsickova

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From a young age, I regularly heard St. Paul’s often-quoted advice on maturity:

When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.-  1 Corinthians 13:11

Today, however, some events of my youth still stand out with great clarity, in retrospect, because of how much they shaped my adult life.

In those areas, looking back now over my life and career, I am glad I ignored St. Paul’s advice - in one critical respect. 

With apologies to Robert Frost (, that choice “has made all the difference.”

Allow me to explain.

My life really took off after the Free Library of Philadelphia opened its Bustleton Avenue branch in the mid-1960’s.

Why this event?  Because we could walk there. 

It was the 1960’s, and my mother did not drive. 

Since my father worked during the day, as a 5-year-old I could not have visited the library any other way. 

Although other branches had already been open not far from our home, they were not on bus routes, and not in walking distance.

One of my most vivid memories of my childhood remains walking to the new branch with my mother and brother, shortly after it opened, and bringing home books.

We had so many books that my mother wheeled a small cart to hold them.

As soon as I could do so safely, I began going there myself – and never stopped.

When I was old enough, I joined the annual Vacation Reading Club

I quickly filled each year’s contest page (on paper, of course, in that pre-internet era) with a star for each book I had read in the last week. 

I, and the other reading club members, also reported on them the books we read at the weekly meeting.  I was not the only competitive, eager reader trying for the most stars.

As a result, I knew all of the friendly librarians, who greeted me by name whenever I visited.

That began a lifetime love of reading that continues today.

Shortly after my marriage, I joined the Montgomery County Norristown Library.  

Every two weeks, we visited its bookmobile, for a standing appointment to return the books that were due, browse the limited stacks, and chat with the librarians about what I liked (or disliked) – and still do so to this day.

Its online catalog and reservation service ( let me request books I have seen reviewed, without regard to what may be on the vehicle, or even in the system-wide collection.

The iInterlibrary loan service provides access to books from libraries across the country on specialized subjects. 

Fortunately, that resource helped us to learn about my son’s disability, after he was unexpectedly diagnosed.

He had begun reading spontaneously at 3, before any formal education, and immediately read as voraciously as I had done as a child. 

I still recall the day he began to read on his own, when he was 2.  I was reading “Go, Dog. Go!” to him at bedtime.  When I stopped to take a breath, he continued aloud, exactly where I had stopped.

To our surprise, however, this ability was soon diagnosed as autism.  How could spontaneous reading be a disability, we wondered? 

Yet it was – “hyperlexia,” a skill associated with autism.  

As we learned more, we recognized its other aspects in him, such as social, and sensory processing challenges.

Nonetheless, my son loved to sit on the floor of the bookmobile, reading whatever caught his attention on the shelves.  We never had a quick “pick up and return” visit, until he became a teen.

Because the library had been so important to me, both as a child, and now as a young parent, I quickly became a generous cash donor to the library. 

It costs far less to borrow and return books, than to buy them (for my entire family).,  The tax write-off is just a bonus.

As a result, I was just notified on my check out receipt that “I have saved $13,986.09 since (I) began using the library!”

I also donated to the library several books on hyperlexia that had helped us, when I learned that they had gone out of print. 

I notified hyperlexia parents about the donation through online discussion groups (before Facebook became the preferred form of parent networking).

I provided instructions on how to borrow them books through the interlibrary loan service, just as I had obtained so many books on my son’s needs.

I have listed the books I donated in the Bibliography.  If you would like to read them, you can navigate to, and search “hyperlexia.”.  I suggest you check whether your local library participates in the interlibrary loan program.

(As a reader of this publication, you are a library member, aren’t you?)

Today, that infant reading in the bookmobile is an employed college graduate who towers over me, an Eagle Scout, and a digital native for his reading and writing.

For myself, however, I still prefer reading on paper.  A traditional book won’t break in a drop after an unplanned nap on my daily commute (even if my paper bookmark may fall out).

In fact, I grudgingly welcomed my return to in-person work in June,  of 2021.  My daily commute on public transportation led to a welcome resumption of extended reading time. 

Fortunately, by then the bookmobile had reopened for in-person browsing after a COVID-19 hiatus.  (During the shutdown, I could only pre-order books online for “contactless pick-up,”, like takeout food.)

Since my commute did not have the interruptions and distractions of an ever-present “work from home” screen, I could make the concentrated effort a good book demands much more conveniently.

I had also missed the “personal touch” of our bookmobile visits. 

I still appreciate the serendipity of finding a book I love on the shelf – most recently, Graeme Simsion’s Camino de Santiago ( and the Rosie series (also favorites of one of our regular librarians).  

In my reading, I have also learned that I am not alone in enjoying books about libraries. - I am still a sucker for books about books. 

My partial “literal” bibliography since we were sent home in March of, 2020, is in the Appendix, along with the hyperlexia books I donated.

So, with literally hundreds of Pandemic pages now behind me, I can say without hesitation that I am glad to have become a senior lawyer who nonetheless revels in my childish ways.

Copyright 2022 Stanley P. Jaskiewicz, Esquire

My Partial Pandemic Bibliography

Hyperlexia Bibliography

(All books available for Interlibrary Loan at Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library)