You know how when you travel to foreign countries, it's always really different if you stay with people who actually live there and see what life is really like? That's kind of what it was like to hang out with my sister on Sunday. She is a children's librarian, and she was working at a rally (which she'd mostly organized herself) in support of a library funding measure.
There's no way on earth we would have gone to that event otherwise, and it turned out to be a lot of fun, and a perfect snapshot of life in LA.
Hillary is a librarian at the Memorial Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library. It's so lovely! And there's a playground! And no machete fights! (That would be at the dangerous old branch she was transfered from a month ago. A week before the machete fight.)
This girl can read a story like nobody's business. It was noisy and crowded and crazy, and she had the full attention of a huge group of kids.
And then she whipped out her ukulele! I have to admit, I got a little teary-eyed watching her in action. It is so gratifying to see someone do something that they are good at, that they are suited for, and that they are enjoying. The kids adore Miss Hillary.
Free books were passed out--quite a boon, since we hadn't brought a lick of entertainment with us apart from Angry Birds on Shaun's phone. The books were easy enough that both boys could read them to themselves in the car and on the plane. Perfect!
A magic show was part of the program, and the magician was exactly right for kids. Nels just about died of happiness when he was the first volunteer to be called. He was totally up for a little public teasing. I couldn't pick just one of these pictures, because I love his body language in all of them.
This guy killed it. I have never seen a happier, more engaged audience than this.
I saw one little girl ask to have her picture taken with Hillary, just like a princess at Disneyland. In the picture below, Hillary is telling me that the man with the impressive hair behind her made the same request, and she had to tell him she would take photos with children only. Perhaps he'd noticed the street style blogger who'd taken her picture earlier.
Do you remember Susan from Seinfeld? George's fiancée who died from licking cheap wedding invitation envelopes? When Hillary met Heidi Swedberg at the library, she only knew her as a ukulele player with a children's album she liked.
Ms. Swedberg closed out the program with a rather wordy song about Proposition L. Take a minor celebrity, a manifesto, and a ukulele, and what you get is a perfectly Seinfeld-ian moment.
Hillary had another event to run to after the rally, so we stayed for a bit and let the boys play on the playground. "Isn't Auntie Hillary good at reading stories?" I asked Willem. He nodded.
"And she's beautiful," he said reverently.