I love Heartwarming. I love the stories, the covers, the worlds that are built between them and, specifically, the authors. The imprint has given a new home to authors whose lines have changed or left, it’s made space for “mature” voices, and paid attention to the often neglected demographic that is “of a certain age.”
What I love most about Heartwarmings are the memories they plant and harvest. They’ve introduced us to people and places who have enriched not just our reading lives, but the others, too. I’ve learned so much about Alaska (and need to GO there—I want to see those lights!) and been inside cancer survivors’ heads and hearts and settled into the small towns that become real on Heartwarming pages.
Since today is Halloween and I’m talking about memories, I’m sharing a poem from James Whitcomb Riley—the Hoosier poet—that I first heard read (that I remember) in the fourth grade, when we sat at our desks on runners and listened to Mrs. Kotterman read in a quiet, ghostly voice. You could have heard a pin drop.
That’s what happens when I get involved in a Heartwarming, too—the rest of the world falls away and becomes silent while the writer makes a memory for me.
So, thanks to Mr. Riley and Mrs. Kotterman, and to the Heartwarming sisterhood for all those delicious memories. And Happy Halloween
Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
Wunst they wuz a little boy wouldn't say his prayers,--
An' when he went to bed at night, away up-stairs,
His Mammy heerd him holler, an' his Daddy heerd him bawl,
An' when they turn't the kivvers down, he wuzn't there at all!
An' they seeked him in the rafter-room, an' cubby-hole, an' press,
An' seeked him up the chimbly-flue, an' ever'-wheres, I guess;
But all they ever found wuz thist his pants an' roundabout:--
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
An' one time a little girl 'ud allus laugh an' grin,
An' make fun of ever' one, an' all her blood-an'-kin;
An' wunst, when they was "company," an' ole folks wuz there,
She mocked 'em an' shocked 'em, an' said she didn't care!
An' thist as she kicked her heels, an' turn't to run an' hide,
They wuz two great big Black Things a-standin' by her side,
An' they snatched her through the ceilin' 'fore she knowed what she's about!
An' the Gobble-uns 'll git you
An' little Orphant Annie says, when the blaze is blue,
An' the lamp-wick sputters, an' the wind goes woo-oo!
An' you hear the crickets quit, an' the moon is gray,
An' the lightnin'-bugs in dew is all squenched away,--
You better mind yer parunts, an' yer teachurs fond an' dear,
An' churish them 'at loves you, an' dry the orphant's tear,
An' he'p the pore an' needy ones 'at clusters all about,
Er the Gobble-uns 'll git you