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Niagara Falls
Friday, June 14, 2024
Letter: Misdeed corrected: ‘Harriet the Spy’ is back on the shelves of library
Letter. Supplied

Dear editor:

My aunt says that a good-natured child chooses her own punishment for her crime.

Well, some children are a bit obtuse and it has taken me a few decades to get around to righting an old wrong. And I needed a little push.

I recently wrote in The Lake Report (“Insightful teacher inspired me to set and achieve goals“) that in about 1972 I filched my favourite book, “Harriet the Spy” by Louise Fitzhugh from the library at Laura Secord Memorial School. 

I confessed only because I thought it was too late to get into trouble. Alas, a gentle admonishment from a neighbour, not to mention, a guilty conscience, is a bigger incentive to make reparations than any fear of jail.

Ross Robinson asked in his Ramblings column on Feb. 16, (Mrs. Dove should be in Teachers Hall of Fame. But that culvert …“), “How can we get ‘Harriet the Spy’ back to the library, for the enjoyment of students today?”

He suggested that “the statute of limitations on theft may have run out, but it would be the right thing to do and this simple act may change someone’s life.”

The idea that there might be a 10-year-old in Niagara who could not read about the zany adventures of a child spy because of my misdeed … well, I cannot live with that.

This morning, I went to the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library and spoke with Ms. Debbie, the librarian. I owned up to my sin. (It is the day before Ash Wednesday, so it seems appropriate.) 

Ms. Debbie nodded wisely and said knowingly, “You’ve come to do penance.”

Yes, indeed.

I could not bear to part with my ragged, dilapidated stolen book; it is like a security blanket. Instead, I went online to Amazon and ordered a brand-new book. 

And to my utter delight, I discovered that Harriet the Spy is only the beginning. There are three other books in the series: “The Long Secret,” “Sport,” and “Harriet Spies Again.”

All four books will be available in the library within the week. (Ms. Debbie was very forgiving; she said she understood my misdeed – “Harriet the Spy” is one of her favourites, too.)

And who knew that making reparations would feel so good.

I love the thought that other kids will feel the same bond with Harriet that I always have. (A word of caution: spying on your family and friends can get complicated – just ask Harriet.)

So, thank you, Rambling Ross. Your kindly suggestion has righted an old wrong and made my day.

Wallace Wiens

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