Thursday, September 15, 2016

New beginnings

by Liz Flaherty

Helen and I talked about new beginnings for this month's post. She has places to go--and I surely love them, too--but my new beginning for autumn is in the same place I began something a gazillion years ago, back before learned to read.

After I saw The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, I did what everyone else did and made my own list. It was in my head, mostly, except for when I told someone what was on it, which explains how I went parasailing and rode a huge enclosed Ferris wheel one summer.


I retired over five years ago, so the last thing on my bucket list or anyplace else was a job, but then one opened up in the local library. A part time one.

Even thinking about it made me breathless. I have spent countless hours in libraries since I sat at the little kids' table in the library in Akron, Indiana--there was only one table--and looked at picture books while my mother got her weekly stack from the grownups' side.

So I added the job to my mental bucket list and filled out an application. "I won't get hired," I told my husband. "I don't want to work very many hours." Well, guess what. They wanted someone who didn't want many hours!

It is so much fun. I get to handle books and talk to people about them--including saying, "If you're looking for wholesome romance, try Heartwarming." I get to watch kids become involved and show them how to learn things because, in all honesty, every thing they ask me is something I have to look up!


If I have downtime, I get to pop my zip drive into my computer and work on the WIP for a little bit. It's not the first time I've ever written in a library, nor will it be the last. Working in one has only increased my appreciation for libraries as places that give and never take. 

Now then, the new releases are right there. Adult fiction is on this floor. You'll need to go downstairs to the children's section. Restrooms? Of course. If you enjoyed him, you'll probably like her, too. You knew Catherine Lanigan lives right here in Indiana, right? Thanks for coming in. Have a good reading day.

by Helen DePrima

The old folks down home called me fiddle-footed, always eager to ramble, to see what was on the other side of the fence or beyond the tree line or over the horizon. Maybe it’s in my blood; my father was a railroad man and my aunt joined the Navy to see the world. Maybe it was the train whistle wailing across the back of my grandfather’s farm in the middle of the night.



Sometimes I fantasize about gassing up my F-150 and heading out, who knows where? West would be good – I love the scope and colors of the Southwest, and the Great Plains have their own magic somewhat like the sea. South would work as well. Not Florida – too many golf carts and plastic flamingos – but the softness of Georgia’s little coastline, so different from the hard clear light and lines of coastal Maine, entices me as well.



New Hampshire has it all – mountains and seacoast and Boston only an hour down the road. I love my house where I’ve lived for nearly forty-five years, my garden and especially the view from my kitchen window where I might see deer or wild turkeys or fox trot by. But flutter a road map under my nose and I’ll follow without a backward glance.

45 comments:

  1. Your job sounds wonderful, Liz. I've always dreamed of working at a library or bookstore.
    Oh Helen, that porch...I'm drooling over the view. How blessed you are!

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    1. Thanks, Jill. That porch is a beauty, isn't it?

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  2. Hi Jill,

    That porch view is from an inn overlooking Boothbay Harbor, Maine. The inn (now a private home) is on a small rocky island reach by a bridge that sways and shudders under the weight of a single car. Maine is definitely on my list of possible places I could live.

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    1. It's way up on my list of places to go. As often as we went to Vermont when our kids lived there, we never made it to Maine. I grew up on Elisabeth Ogilvie books, so going to the Maine coast is a need. :-)

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    2. Liz, the Bennett's Island books are among those I can read again and again, also a few of her stand-alones set in Maine. There May Be Heaven is one of my favorites. Another Maine author is Gladys Hasty Carroll who wrote As The Earth Turns, about a year in the lives of a Maine farm family. I got be meet her shortly before she died and corresponded with her at length -- a very cool lady.

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  3. How wonderful that you are working in a library, Liz . . . and giving shout outs to Heartwarming and especially Catherine! :-) I've always loved libraries and hope they'll never disappear in our digital age.

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures, Helen.

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  4. Hi Kate -- yes, a wonderful job to work in a library, my first job during high school. Even better would be a second-hand book store with the sweet smell of of elderly bindings.

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  5. Liz Flaherty, I've been putting together a mental bucket list too. I'm working on a trip to England for a few weeks as number one on the list. I've been wanting to travel to the U.K. for a while now.
    How nice that you're working part-time in the library. They're fortunate to have you, a book enthusiast and writer. Good for you.
    Helen DePrima I chuckled at what you said about Florida and those flamingos. New Hampshire is truly beautiful. I traveled there once many, many years ago. I was struck by its beauty. Huh....maybe I need to add that to my bucket list too. I need to get back there. ( :

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    1. I want to go to England, too, Laurie. I've been to Ireland and loved that, but I think I'd truly like a month to just tour the British Isles. I don't see it happening anytime soon, but I'll be ready if it ever does! Thanks for coming by.

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    2. Hi Laurie -- glad you could join us. I hope your trip to England lives up to your expectations. I visited London many years ago on the way to Scotland, which I loved, such nice people. I'm glad I went there then, the Middle East as well -- wouldn't like to try it now. We're headed your way right now for bull riding in Charlotte this weekend.

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  6. Congrats on your job, Liz. I worked in a library during high school and college--my first job. Still love the smells whenever I go into one. Helen, count me in with the others who covet that beautiful porch and view. Now I want to travel and I just got home! My granddaughter has taken the travel bug to a whole new level, including Thailand this summer. She's been to more places than I have.

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  7. Hi Leigh -- your granddaughter sounds like my daughter who's a travel editor. She's hiked the Inca trail to Macchu Pichu, visited Iceland and Norway and Morocco, rafted down the Mekong.

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    1. Wow, what adventures! I love the library smell, too, Leigh.

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  8. Your job at the library sounds perfect for you, Liz! And I think I need Helen to plan my next vacation :)

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    1. Hi Amy -- I'm the designated travel agent for our treks -- hotels, tickets, scheduled events. We love to travel by Amtrak, but I'm always a nervous wreck until we're safely on the train Then I can sit back and revel in the landscape sliding by and rocking over the rails. We've taken the train from Boston to Seattle, a marvelous trip I highly recommend.

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    2. I want to go on Amtrak, but haven't done it yet. It's always a "next year" thing.

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  9. Libraries and traveling. Two of my favorite things. I loved this post and it's made me begin thinking about my own bucket list. Thanks for the inspiration, Liz and Helen!

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    1. Hi Patricia -- I love the combination of travel and bookstores, preferably second-hand. I've picked up emergency reading supplies in strange places like thrift shops and flea markets. My greatest pleasure is reading about the area through which I'm traveling, like Leon Uris's Exodus in Israel and Tony Hillerman's Navajo mysteries while driving across the Big Rez.

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    2. I love used book stores, too. A lot for that distinctive smell like a library has. I especially like if there's a cafe in the store so you can smell coffee at the same time!

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  10. I'm with you - love to travel and have my own bucket list. When we had our conference in Atlanta, I did both. Drove down to the Florida Keys and checked that off the list. Also, I love libraries. Worked in one while in college and again when I moved to Arizona. Great post.

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    1. Thanks, Marion. I've probably been to Florida 20 times and yet we never see anything there! I want to go to St. Augustine.

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  11. Liz, you have my dream job! I bet they love you at that library. Isn't parasailing a blast?! And Helen, I have so many of those places on my "wanderlust list." I haven't seen any of the New England states. Thanks for a great post, Ladies. I'll be daydreaming all day.

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    1. Hi Carol -- all this talk of bucket lists is making me reexamine my own. A huge milestone for me was returning to the Colorado ranch a few years ago where I spent so many happy times as a teen. Everyone warned my I'd surely be disappointed with how much it had changed. Wrong -- liked I'd never left. I'd love to go again, but maybe I should be content with that one perfect seek after a 45 year hiatus.

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    2. I love New England. I'm pretty sure it was where I was meant to be, but I got dropped off in the Midwest by accident. (I love it, too, though--Pollyanna strikes again.) I'd like to see Colorado, too.

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  12. Great post! I need to go rewatch Bucket List. I made one after watching that movie too, but that was a long time ago. I bet a lot on my list needs to be changed.
    Liz, I'm jealous of your library job. How much fun!
    Helen, I'm heading your way with a road map. :) I never traveled more than a few hours away from my hometown until I was 18. I didn't think I liked traveling...until my oldest daughter convinced me to go visit her in Europe. It was awesome. Now I'm addicted to travel and can't wait to do it again.

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    1. I was like you, LeAnne. When I was 18, I think I'd been in four states. And now I'm afraid I'll run out of time before I get to see everything I want!

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    2. Hi LeAnne -- I was extremely luck as a child. By the time I was ten or so, my dad was a high official with the old L&N Railroad which ran from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico. He took me along on many trips; I saw had experiences most kids don't, like climbing down into the guts of freighter docked in Mobile, visiting a salt mine in Louisiana and riding over the bayous in a helicopter to inspect the train bridges. We traveled in a private car attached to the end of passenger train; I was allowed to sit on the back platform and watch the rails spool out behind us.

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  13. Awesome post. I prefer auto travel and poking in small towns around the country to air travel to foreign places. But that's just me. And I don't like to drive myself, so I need to find someone with a matching bucket list who loves to drive. If you get to the Southwest---I have a spare bedroom.

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    1. I love driving, which means sometimes the dh and I can get a little grumpy over who's tired of being a passenger, because he loves it, too.

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    2. Hi Roz -- I'm with you! I love road trips which allow me to stop in tiny towns that scarcely warrant an exit. We stopped for gas once in Park, KS -- only notable structures were the grain elevator, the water tower, and a hundred-year-old brick church that had survived when a fire wiped out the rest of the town. One of my favorites is Gold Hill Colorado where the pioneer-era general store displays a poster warning what to do in case of a mountain lion attack.

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  14. I'm like my aunt--my purse on my arm, waiting for someone to come by and say, "Let's go."
    Enjoyed your post and I'm so glad, Liz, that you're getting to work in the library. And to look out my window and see deer--that would be great, Helen.

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  15. I have deer in my side yard, too--it's one of the greatest gifts of living here (and of my office window.) Whoever stops by for you and Roz may as well pick me up, too. I know it would be a fun trip.

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  16. Deer are fun to see, but they're hard on my hostas. We have a skunk family living behind the woodpile. They're welcome because they eat a lot of grubs from the lawn; once they dog up a ground hornets' nest before we stepped in it.

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  17. Hi, Liz and Helen! Sorry I'm so late - Ron had PT today, then we stopped for a burger. Whatever the opposite of fiddle-footed is, that's me. Root-footed! I love being home - husband, dog, deer, neighbors - it's the best. I never worked in a library, but managed a bookstore that also carried office supplies and Hallmark ornaments, and that was so great! Except for inventory. So many millions of little things to count. And I think if you're at peace with yourself, you can be a hermit or a wanderer and you'll be happy. Love your photos.

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    1. I think you're right, Muriel. Although I do have a healthy wanderlust, I also love being home. It's the best of both worlds.

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    2. Hi Muriel -- glad you made it to the tea party. I love days when I don't have to leave the property, but I'm never happier than when I'm planning a trip. Older family members tell me my mother was the same way -- the anticipation was half the fun for her.

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  18. I'm with Roz. Give me a road trip any day. smile

    Fun post

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    1. Yeah, I don't think there were too many here who prefer flying. I don't either, but I'll do it on occasion.

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  19. I loved your stories Liz and Helen! Such vivid pictures of where you live and some of your life experiences. I was persuaded by my family to go parasailing the summer I turned 50 and it was amazing. Breathlessly beautiful and horrifying at the same time! I have an aunt who went for a hot-air balloon ride on her 90th. Think I'll let her keep that record. Lol.

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    1. I want to do that! I agree about parasailing--it was amazing. It was the most perfect silence I'd ever heard, except for my sister-in-law saying "okay, we've done it, we can go down now." :-)

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  20. Love the pics! I've been parasailing and wow is it peaceful when you're up in the air like a bird. Amazing.

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    1. It absolutely is, isn't it? I want to go again.

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  21. Thank you Liz and Helen. What a nice way to start my Sat. I've been all around the country and world but haven't done more than pass through the New England states. Your pictures are making me put it on my bucket list.

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    1. It's beautiful there, Sophia, not matter which season.

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