Tuesday, January 19, 2010

So, it wasn't Babe Ruth, but...

It's been a while, n'est pas? So much, and yet so little, has happened the past six months or so. I'm going to be an aunt again! That's exciting news. I'm also going to be in the local ballet production of The Nutcracker come June (I know, a little late-just so long as it doesn't interrupt any 48-hour book challenges!). But, at present, I just returned from ALA midwinter in Boston where I attended a genealogy pre-conference event, caught up with old Simmons friends and Boston itself, and snagged a lot of books that I have been interested in reading. Perhaps most exciting, however, was I managed to quite accidentally meet a favorite author of mine.

I was sitting in the Au Bon Pain cafe that was attached to the hotel we were staying at, talking with Julie (my friend and co-worker) and two other librarians who were on her committee, when an older woman came up to us and asked us if we were librarians. We stated in the affermative, and she went on to thank us for being librarians because she, as an author and as a child, always has had a soft spot for librarians. Score points for us! Which I thought was quite nice of her to say, since obviously we weren't her librarians, just some random librarians off the street (and we never can get enough of complements, can we?). She told us that she had been out of the writing/publishing field for a while, and was interested in starting back up and she was doing a reading soon for that purpose. She then handed us a flier for her upcoming reading, her name was on top and it was... Bette Greene, author of Summer of My German Soldier, one of my favorite books when I was a kid! (Seriously, how could you not love a book that had a hot, German boy in World War II who was not evil-it's like how could you not love Nat Eaton from Witch of Blackbird Pond? You just can't not.)

This meant that I of course had to go and talk to her. I told her how much I loved reading Summer of My German Soldier growing up (and, even now), and she seemed delighted that I actually remembered who she was and liked her writing. She gave me a hug and sat me down to talk a little about her life at present and books, both hers and others. Her husband had been sick for the past twelve years, and she had gone to taking care of him full time, which is why she was about of the writing business for so long. I did not realize until she was telling me about how she writes about emotions (those that she has experienced) and not plot points, that Summer of My German Soldier had personal meaning to her. Not that I asked her if she had a father who liked to beat her. I hope that wasn't part of her emotional experience growing up.

She also attempted to shock me out of my librarian senses by informing me that she thought that the writing for Make Way For Ducklings was pedestrian, though she loves the plot (and wishes she had thought of it). However, I wasn't shocked because it had been so long since I read that book, that I don't remember all the details. She also said that she was due for a reread, so maybe it will come off better this time around.

Ms. Greene signed the flier for me, as I obviously didn't have a book handy, and now I will have that to treasure for life. You never know who you are going to meet in the magical city that is Boston! Actually, that's true. Because Julie and I also ran into Mitali Perkins as we were on our way into the exhibits. She was on her way out!

So, which author from your childhood would you love to randomly meet one day? I'm sad that I will never get the chance to meet Madeleine L'Engle or Lloyd Alexander. I never would have had a chance to see L.M. Montgomery, so she doesn't count.

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