Today, we drove an hour and a half north, back to our hometown, Osceola, MO. I haven’t been home much at all since I left for college. For years, we lived in TX, NE, and MN, and I just didn’t keep in touch with very many people at all. Once both That Man’s and my parents moved out of Osceola, we only made occasional drives around the square to see what had changed (very little), or to put flowers on Grandma’s grave, but we never really stopped and visited.
I think it was very fitting to experience this first where I grew up, especially in the library, where I read books by the shelf after school. Where I quietly wrote my first stories in elementary school. Where my teachers were so supportive and encouraging. Mrs. Lightle made me write my own version of Beowulf my senior year and first instilled a love for poetry in my heart. When I came home from college over spring break my freshman year, pretty sure I wasn’t going back because I couldn’t understand Calculus II, Mr. Kauffman gave me every teacher’s manual he still had so I could work through examples and figure out how to keep my head afloat. I went on to be a mathematics major and even got my MS, but if he hadn’t let me come out to his house and given me his pep talk, I might not have made it.
Oh, and don’t even get me started about my family and friends, many of whom I haven’t seen in years. Literally, my cousin who stopped by — I don’t think I’ve seen him for twenty years or more. One of my best friends from high school came by — I hadn’t seen her since graduation. The librarians I grew up with had retired, but both of them came in especially to see us.
We didn’t sell a ton of books, but we sold several, to very good homes, the library gained some donations, and more importantly, I connected with friends and family I hadn’t seen in an eternity.
It was a lovely day. A huge thank you to Tish at the St. Clair Co. Library for organizing the event, and to everyone who stopped by to say hello.