Ex Libris…A Moment of Personal Pride

Dear Reader:

True confession…you know the old brain is only functioning on a few neurons…when you forget to add the last section of your blog post. Remember how yesterday the importance of libraries on a child’s life was discussed, along with book markers and other vintage book apparel from the past?

Chris Frazier  sent me that adorable whimsical title drawing (thank you) and we explored the secret worlds of children who escape harsh reality conditions for imaginary places of acceptance through reading.


We also discussed the importance of vintage book markers and book plates and we wondered if children would welcome them today as a sign of ownership of a book…or simply as a gift from someone special.

I had planned to end the post yesterday with the phrase Ex Libris.…it stands out in my memory for two reasons.

As a small child I remember Grandmother Wilson opening a book she received one Christmas and crying out in delight over the book…but even more over the Ex Libris book plate with her name engraved in it. Grandmother had once been a teacher and had taught Latin. She adored books…no one could have given her anything better…I remember she kept running her fingers over the engraved letters of her name. This gift made her Christmas so special.

This phrase Ex Libris.…also saved me from the penetrating glare of Mrs. Harlowe…my Latin teacher. I had taken Latin in the 8th grade in Fayetteville but quite honestly I didn’t know squat about it. Mrs. Harlowe wanted me to re-take the course and start over with the regular ninth graders (after we moved to Laurens that summer)…but  mother insisted I move on to Latin II with the tenth graders. Mother won and I lost…big time.

I was completely clueless most of the year …but I did have one shining moment…and that was when we had to bring in a Latin word or expression that was still used today or at least its derivative was.

I ran to grandmother’s house and asked to borrow her book with the the vintage Ex Libris  engraved book plate. Grandmother hesitated so long I was scared she was going to tell me “no.” And I did feel the weight of the world on me as I carried her book wrapped in delicate tissue to school with me…I knew if something happened to that book I had better jump on the next train and keep going.

I recall my hands were shaking as I unwrapped the tissue and handed it to Mrs. Harlowe. Immediately the book caught her interest and she grabbed it out of my hands…she turned to the front and saw my grandmother’s name engraved in the front. I could tell she was admiring the handiwork…and it finally dawned on her what my connection to my grandmother Mary Ellen Wilson was…Grandmother was a quite respected Laurens resident.

From that day on…my life improved in her class… I think I even got a C at the end of the term….more for being my grandmother’s granddaughter than anything else…but hey, you take what life gives you…gratefully!

Ex Libris 

  1. used as an inscription on a bookplate to show the name of the book’s owner.
    “ex libris Edith Wharton”
  1. a bookplate inscribed to show the name of the book’s owner.

So until tomorrow….Doesn’t it make you feel good when you get something with your name imprinted on it? Even a sports t-shirt with your name and number means that you belong to a group and it is that yearning for human connection that is most important to all of us.

It is equally important to be recognized to stand out from the crowd for a certain achievement and this is tributed to Ex Libris too….we all want to feel special some days.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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3 Responses to Ex Libris…A Moment of Personal Pride

  1. Rachel Edwards says:

    Becky…this is so neat. And my grandmother taught Latin too…think I shared with you before that she graduated from Erskine in the early 1900s. Fred took renewal courses from Dr. Steele two different times and both times I hing out with the archivist …a very sweet lady…and we found all 4 yrs of grades…Mother was thrilled.


    • Becky Dingle says:

      In spite of my struggling some in Latin…I must admit…I learned more prefixes and suffixes from latin that I could use to figure out vocabulary words on the SAT! I made a very good score on the English/vocabularly section


  2. Patty Knight says:

    I learn something new about you every time I read your posts.

    On Mon, Jan 27, 2020 at 6:01 AM Chapel of Hope Stories wrote:

    > Becky Dingle posted: ” Dear Reader: True confession…you know the old > brain is only functioning on a few neurons…when you forget to add the > last section of your blog post. Remember how yesterday the importance of > libraries on a child’s life was discussed, along with b” >


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