Woman born in library celebrates 94th by returning to the stacks whence she came.

Literature
Janet Manley

March 8, 2023, 3:23pm

“I like to think I sprang from a head,” Patricia Lockwood once wrote, “I like to think the head was mine.”

We cannot all come into the world with divine knowledge of the written word immaculately stacked into the halls of our minds, but we could perhaps manage to be born in a library. Such were the beginnings of 94-year-old Mary Garvey (once Martha Cunningham), who was delivered in the basement of the East Liverpool Carnegie library by her mother Laura Anna Cunningham in the early 1900s, when Laura and her husband Alfred Herman were caretakers of the property.

Review Online reports that two of Mary’s six siblings were also born in the basement apartment, though she was the only one to get married there (they had to wait until after the 8 p.m. closing of the branch). “I only had two homes growing up, here and Mccoy Avenue,” she told the paper, “I have so many memories, but it looks nothing like it did.”

Mary lived in the apartment through the Great Depression, rich in proverbial canned beans, you might say, when entertainment might otherwise have been hard to come by. The Cunningham’s were the last people to live in the space, which was subsequently turned into an administrative office. Mary returned for the occasion of her 94th birthday. Imagine the homecoming, imagine the friends waiting with stiff spines at the ready.

While living in the library, Mary never actually checked books out; she simply “borrowed” them, which makes sense: the babe never had to worry about being overdue—she had arrived right on time.

[via Review Online]

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