As a child, the library was an oasis to Billie Frei in the hot summer St. George days
Recorded December 11, 2018 Archived December 11, 2018 12:42 minutes
DescriptionRecording March 27, 2018 – To Billie Bleak [pronounced Blake] Frei, the St. George Library basement was a wonderful way to spend a hot summer afternoon in the cool of the children’s section. She grew up in St. George, Utah, only blocks away from the library. She has fond memories of Uncle Wiggily and Raggedy Ann & Andy books, Viewmasters (stereoscopes), and Miss Helen Starr’s wonderful story hours.
Billie related an experience from the library of Miss Starr asking her and a neighbor boy Wally Mathis to run an errand for her. They were the only children there at the time. It was during the day of rationing, circa 1940s. The librarian said to the two children, “I want you to go up to Mr. Blanding’s store and buy a package of gum for me. And here’s the note and the money.” After they returned, Miss Starr opened it and rewarded each child with a stick of gum.
Billie’s aunt, her father’s sister, Iona (Ione) Bleak Stucki was a previous head librarian of the St. George Library in 1919 as the city library was being turned over to the county. Billie thought all of the librarians were wonderful at the St. George Library.
Billie believes that even today, children still love to be held and read to, look at the pictures and turn the pages.