I visited the Martinsburg Public Library this past Saturday, and let me tell you, it was a treat. When I arrived, here’s what I found hanging at the entrance to the Amazingly well-stocked Children’s Library:
I got there a little early, so I got to hear author/illustrator Susan Stockdale talk about her illustration process, and learned a few tricks that I might have to borrow.
Especially good advice from Susan: keeping globs of paint mixes in old film canisters so you don’t have to re-mix them. Susan creates really lovely non-fiction books about animals, and she has an enthusiasm for nature’s patterns that is infectious.
My presentation went well, with a lively group who got my (sometimes lame) jokes. Always good.
But after the presentation was when the real fun began.
I got to talk to the children’s librarians, Jane Levitan and Erin Mumma (and that’s MOO-mah, NOT MOO-maw or MUH-mah, folks!!!), and you know how sometimes you have an instant connection with someone, and you wish you could take them home and they could be your best friend forever? That was what it felt like, talking to these two! Swoon. Just, super-cool. I’m really sorry I don’t have a picture of these two. But anyway, Erin gave me a cupcake that she had entered in a local cupcake competition that was unreal. It was a chocolate-ginger-awesomesauce concoction that knocked my socks off. Goodness.
THEN… I had to go out to the car to get my camera. On the way to the car, I met this kind fellow…
and he told me a little known secret. He said that if you go upstairs in the library…
you will find AN ORIGINAL N.C. WYETH PAINTING HANGING THERE!!! And here it is.
And a little closer:
Words fail me. Always remember that Wyeth’s paintings are amazing in real life. The reproduction processes utilized in his day failed to capture the glory of his work. If you’re a Wyeth fan, or even better, if you’re not a fan yet, go to the Brandywine River Museum in Chadds Ford, PA to see his work, and that of his son (Andrew Wyeth) and grandson (Jamie Wyeth). Totally worth your time.
They also gave me food at the library. Unique and very tasty salads made by the mysterious Maria, who I never met. It was so good I had to leave her a note telling her so.
Stayed a long time at the library. Did not want to say good-bye to Erin. But finally had to leave. When we crossed the street, the Occupy fella told us how to get to an old train roundhouse, and so we went.
Martinsburg, WV and its library get a total A+. I hope to come back when I have more time, and look around a whole lot more. Because I have to visit this place, too:
In spite of much joy, however, one in our number did fall to the depths of great despair. During my presentation, my mother, who came along on this trip, decided not to go to a rummage sale which was across the street from the library. Later, when we were getting ready to pull away from the curb, she saw a woman leaving that same sale with the cleaning bucket of my mother’s dreams. “That could have been MY bucket,” my mother gasped. Her own bucket has split. And so, it seems, has her heart.