We were visiting my parents last weekend. The summer has been filled with so many other things that a visit with them had yet not been possible. Judging from the look of the rest of the summer, last weekend was the only weekend it was going to happen so off we went.
Going back to my hometown is always a mixed bag of emotions for me. I loved where I grew up, but it was also a nice place to leave when the time came. Going back is always a little dicey. I never know which ghosts are going to show up and refuse to leave. I never know which memories will be messing with my psyche. Some trips are easy and the memories welcome. Some trips are overwhelming and I try to find the balance between the person I am now and the person I was then and try to reconcile the passage of time. I can go back home and have it feel like no time has passed and yet people and places around me tell me it has... or sometimes I am the one screaming that it has. It was a nice trip though... could have been longer, but this summer wasn't permitting it.
One good piece of news I received while back home was that a high school classmate of mine was having her first book published! I was so excited for her. Karen Day and I were not close friends, but we knew each other. She knew I liked to paint and draw, I knew she liked to write. She was very into tennis and Fleetwood Mac and had me do drawings of Vitas Gerulitis and Stevie Nicks for her. The memory of drawing Vitas particularly stands out in my mind because his dominant forearm was so massive. No matter how many times I drew it as I saw it, it still looked wrong. I'd probably also cringe at how I drew Stevie's teeth. Teeth were never easy.
One other thing Karen asked me to do was read a book she had written. I'm still not sure why she asked me, as I said, we weren't that close, but I was honored... honored and amazed that someone had the determination and focus to write a book while in high school! It was obvious that Karen was going to be a writer. No, it was obvious that Karen was a writer.
Over the years I've heard snippets about what Karen was up to. Her mother and mine occasionally golf and play bridge together. I knew that Karen had written for numerous magazines, Tennis being one of them. She even got a chance to interview Arthur Ashe before his death, but I had never heard anything about books until this past weekend. Her first book, Tall Tales, a story for middle graders, came out this past May. Her second book, No Cream Puffs, is being published next June.
I feel like I've come full circle... thinking back to reading Karen's first book oh so long ago and now being able to buy my daughter her first published book. I'll be reading it as well. Keep it in mind if you have a *tweener* or know a middle schooler who likes to read.