a lover of books
spend all day barefoot
Want to move to to Kunfunadhoo?
Is this a trick question?
It appears that a bookseller is being sought by a resort on the island of Kunfunadhoo.
Ultimate Library is looking for an island bookseller who, “ will need to be a self-starter who is happy to introduce themselves to guests and provide them with personalised book recommendations. The successful applicant will be solely responsible for the day-to-day running of the bookshop, including accounting and stock management. “The applicant will be there on their own, so they’re pretty much running the whole thing themselves.”
The successful applicants will be a “Passionate lovers of books – who are also adventurous, outgoing, creative and don’t mind spending all day barefoot – are sought for the year-long contract, which starts in October and involves moving to live on the remote island of Kunfunadhoo in the Indian Ocean.”
There was a time …
In the middle of a Michigan winter, sitting in one of the lower levels of the Harlen Hatcher Graduate Library at the University of Michigan, I was sitting at a library table that was pushed against an outside window where I could watch the snow come down.
The University of Michigan Graduate Library was reported to have some 5 million books on the shelves and all of them were literally stacked up over my head.
In the days before the World Wide Web this was as close to unlimited information on anything in the world that anyone could get.
And that is just what I was thinking.
Anything and everything that I might want to know or read about or experience thorugh a book was within a few feet of where I sat.
Of where I sat in the middle of a Michigan winter watching snow come down.
For some reason this thought about all that knowledge got to gnaw away at me.
I could know it all.
I could look it all up.
I could see it before my eyes.
But I would never go anywhere.
The library was my fate.
And at that moment, the library was my doom.
I was as depressed as I have ever been.
And I decided to do something about it.
The book Treasure Island came to mind and it stories of pirates and adventure in the Caribbean.
I can’t remember why I was thinking about that book at that time but I had just read up up the life of the author, Robert Louis Stevenson.
I had learned that Mr. Stevenson had died and was buried in Samoa.
And the word Samoa resonated through my soul.
With those vast resources over my head in the library stacks, I searched out everything I could find out about Samoa and American Samoa which, with its capitol of Pago Pago, was an American territory in the South Pacific.
I learned that the United States Department of State or some Washington Department like that maintained the schools in American Samoa.
And I learned that applications for teachers in the schools in American Samoa were being accepted.
A manic mania of pre-internet job application fury took me over as only someone who has sat in the lower levels of a library looking out at a winter storm can understand.
With typewriter and xerox machine I wrote out a resume and letter of application and got it into the mail that night.
There was a bit of romance and wonder and excitement as I walked through the dark snowy Ann Arbor night down to the local post office to drop my envelopes into the night drop box to get the quickest delivery possible to Washington.
There was a lot of satisfaction when I heard the lid of the drop box slam shut.
It was still snowing.
I had one my thick peacoat (which was required it seems that year) thick hat, gloves, scarf and boots and I was standing in the falling snow but in my mind I was barefoot, standing on an island beach in the South Pacific and teaching cute little Samoans about the American Civil War.
I got back to my apartment and started to make plans.
Chief among those plans was that I would be limited in what I would be able to bring along to the Island.
Limited as to what books I could bring.
In my mind, and maybe somewhere on paper, I made a list of the 30 or 40 essential books that would have to be packed.
I made and remade that list over and over in my mind through many dark nights that winter.
Over the weeks several letters arrived for me from Washington.
The first one was proforma and thanked me for the interest.
The 2nd was better as it at least started out Dear Applicant.
The 3rd letter I got was finally addressed to Dear Mr. Hoffman.
It acknowledged receipt of my application and that I did indeed meet all the qualifications necessary for the job.
Based on that, the letter welcomed me to the ‘pool of available applicants’ for teaching positions in the Territory of American Samoa.
I was advised that the pool was ranked by 1st in, 1st out and that as positions were filled, I would move up the list.
In the event that I made it to the top of the list, and something was available, I would be contacted for a further interview.
That was in the January of 1984.
So far as I know, I am still moving up that list.