Clare County Review & Marion Press

Postcard from the Pines: Old Friends and More Library Noise

Little Free Library

Last week I had the opportunity to visit with an old friend. I mean a really long-time ago friend and one I have not seen in years. Our friendship goes back, first to the Methodist Sunday School, and then as classmates at the Grandon School, beginning in 6th grade. We graduated from MHS together in 1968; the year of the great storm and power outage. My old friend Peg Blackledge and I reckon that it has been fifty years since we last saw one another.
Peg and her son Mike drove to Michigan from their home in southern Indiana to spend several days visiting her old hometown and brother, Dan and his wife Bonnie, who reside on what is remembered as the Simon VanderWoude farm in Winterfield. VanderWoude was the sibling’s maternal grandfather.
Time flies, most certainly and we had a lot to catch-up on, and we did, and in some ways we did not. Our conversation took us from one thing to another; recent to ancient. I don’t think we realized it at the time, but we fell into a kind of ‘shorthand or code talk’. It’s the kind of thing that happens between family members and folks who grew up together and share common acquaintances and memories, like those from school.
This kind of conversation means using a word or two instead of a long tale to convey an idea or similarity. By simply saying someone’s name, like John Doe, to someone who knew him or an associated incident was enough. No explanation needed. A “John Doe, you know” covers it all. And yes, I did know.
We had a wonderful visit and that old man time surely had wings. We parted promising to meet again when she next visits home and family. Her son assured me that she will be back. I’m counting on it. We have so many more things to talk about. We were in the same classroom at the Grandon (Winterfield) School when the call came that JFK had been assassinated. There are not many of us who share that exact moment in time. We all know just where we were when we heard that awful news. It was our generation’s moment to remember.
In the meantime we have a plan to keep in email contact.

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It’s time to make more library noise. The Friends of the Library met May 12 after the Library Board meeting and learned some of the hard cold facts surrounding the Marion Public Library. One astonishing thing is the fact that the library no longer has money in the budget for purchasing new books. That’s right. No new books come to our library because they were purchased by the library for the readership. That’s a sad state of affairs. The covid pandemic has not been kind to our M. Alice Chapin Memorial Library. The “Alice” we have today is not the little residential house on Pickard Street we so fondly remember. It is better and it deserves our support in any way we are able. There are several events in the works to raise monies to benefit Alice.
Old Fashioned Days will see the very popular Library Book Sale once again on the street and a return of the popular Jake Slater Concert is booked for August 9, at the Old Mill Venue. Tickets will be $12, on sale soon and available at the library or from FOL members. More details will follow.
Librarian Sarah Maddox has announced that the library will once again be open on Wednesday, holding later hours from 12-7pm. Hours are now Thursday and Friday from 10am-4pm and Saturday 10am-Noon. Cuts to the budget have been hard and sharp and the ability to serve the public one additional day is indeed good news.
Since the Library is striving to recover from the library version of covid, the FOL and anyone interested in gardening and lending a hand is invited to meet at the library Saturday, May 21 at 9am to give a much needed cleaning to the landscaping on the street and parking lot sides of the building. Bring your own gloves, rake and gardening tools of choice. Alice’s front yard needs a little help.

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This week’s photo is of the newest Certified Little Free Library in our area. It is open for business in front of the entrance to the Winterfield Township Hall, Cook and Haskell Lake Roads, courtesy of Dan and Bonnie Blackledge, who are also the custodians and librarians.
This new tiny library is stocked with something of interest for all, including children’s books and even some great cook books. We’ll have more on this adventure next week. Stay tuned.

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