See the tiny handcrafted bowl of dried roses? My dear friend Olivia made it. She lives in Berkeley.
See the photo of Brook, about to turn 5, ready for her first day of kindergarten in Bass Harbor, Maine? She will turn 38 during this Libra birthday month.
See the Schrager family photo? That’s me in the first row with my eyes closed, second from the left. My brother, Joel, is seated to my left, and cousin Linda, who’s now Sita, to his left. We have no idea who the kid is to her left. Cousin Gloria, now Nikki, is kneeling on the far left, in the second row.
Ethan formed that ceramic head topped by what looks like a black beret. He was probably in my friend Carol Shutt’s pottery class, maybe in third grade. To the left of the little guy is a tiny book on friendship with a tiny purple ice cream cone on the cover, given to me by Penelope, my first friend in Tucson.
Inside that tiny book is one of my favorite quotes, “Be true to your work, your word, and your friend.” — Henry David Thoreau
In front of the Newseum mug, which Brook and Gian gave to me, is an oblong silver bookmark. I don’t remember who gave that to me, or why, but I try to follow its quote:
“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams,” — also by Henry David Thoreau.
Today, Olivia and her husband are visiting Mount Desert Island, following a week on Great Cranberry Island, across the Western Way. She sent this fabulous photo of one of my favorite places in Southwest Harbor (maybe on the planet?), the Claremont lawn (looks down to the boat house, where we go for cocktails in the summer. The Claremont Inn isn’t in the photo, only its shadow).
Olivia and I roomed together at the Claremont many Septembers ago. We both served on the board of the American Association of Children’s Booksellers. I suggested the Claremont for our annual three-day retreat. Ten board members arrived from around the country, adding immeasurably to fall commerce in Southwest Harbor. I still lived there. I had to go home to get more blankets. A late September chill was in the air.
Both Olivia and I left the book business in 1997, and received the “Spirit of ABC” awards at at that year’s American Booksellers convention (now Book Expo America, I think that’s what it’s called). We’ve been friends for more than 20 years.
I’m glad she stopped to smell the roses this past week.
Brook’s birthday at the end of this month marks 13 years I’ve lived in Tucson. Welcome to September, one of my favorite months. Welcome to my desk, where I write to remember my dreams.