Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

 

CP: Long before I had a wallet to put it in, I had a library card. It was salmon-colored, with rounded corners and a small embossed metal tab for processing my voluminous checkouts.

 

RN: I don’t remember the physical details of my first library card, but I do recall that getting it made my elementary-school-aged self feel very grown up indeed. Such was the nerdaciousness of my childhood.

 

CP: You and me both, Poindexter.

 

RN: Let all the other neighborhood boys waste their summer playing kickball in the field near our house. I was parked on the screen porch, roaring through every title in Carolyn Hayward’s “Eddie” series.

 

CP: Henry Reed, Encyclopedia Brown, Harriet the Spy — I loved them all. No wonder I required eyeglasses with a strong prescription as a fifth-grader.

 

RN: You, too? I don’t have a clue regarding the whereabouts of a single diploma, but I know exactly where to find the certificate I received at age 8 from the Hennepin County Library, awarding me membership in its all-star summer reading program.

 

CP: I don’t like to brag, but your certificate of merit for “having read six books for pleasure during the summer” seems awfully generous. At that age, I was heading home with six books per week.

 

RN: Thanks for reminding me of yet another awkward late-bloomer moment.

 

CP: Nowadays, the tables are turned and you read books about five times faster than I do.

 

RN: Hardly. Some of my happiest moments from the late 1960s and early 1970s occurred in the tiny library on Osseo Road, across from Brookdale, discovering some title on the Apollo space program or Minnesota history. Geek-alicious, right?

 

CP: Total me, too, on the nonfiction phase. Why on Earth a pale fifth-grader such as myself would be tearing through books about the Battle of Britain and military aviation, I cannot accurately recall.

 

RN: Those born in the Internet age will never fully appreciate the eye-opening window on the world that was Burnsville’s plum-bricked branch of the Dakota County Library, circa 1975.

 

CP: At my childhood bibliotheque, a big deal was graduating from the children’s room to the main library, with its impressively towering stacks and a reading room stocked with newspapers and the latest magazines.

 

RN: My fascination with the vast collection of Broadway cast recordings at the icky old downtown Minneapolis library, which I discovered in mid-junior high, should have set off all kinds of signals. I mean, what straight 13-year-old checks out the LPs to “Here’s Love” and “Wildcat”?

 

CP: There we have it: Just like Harvey Milk, the library was out to recruit us. And it worked.

 

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib