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December 17, 2022: Build it and they will come, again

It was three years ago that Bill and I got the book project going. I held a meeting and gave a tour of the book area, which was primarily the baling room and the large tent outside. Bill hadn’t been dressed for outdoor work and was uncharacteristically grumpy. I thought he didn’t want anything to do with the project. It could have been, in addition to being chilled, that he saw all the Gaylords full of books and thought he didn’t need a tour.

Alys and Bill sort books in the VCRS bale storage area

I went back, and he went back, and the rest is history. We sorted through thousands of books – we had no idea what to save or why to save it. There were a lot of duplicates of young adult books. I suspect that they were from the Mat-Su School District warehouse.

Bill was somewhat neat and tidy; me, I had books all over the baling room floor. The community service workers came over and they took books. One guy took a book entitled The Cake Bible – he thought it was a religious tract. There was a yellow cat that would not leave us alone. Bob who worked in the processing area was very displeased with Bill and my presence.

The upstairs staff decided to have a holiday fundraiser, which we did, a few days before Christmas. I lugged hundreds of books upstairs. After, I lugged hundreds of books back downstairs. Bob’s wife made cookies – and Bob was probably right – VCRS made more money off the baked goods than they did the books.

Back then, I would not have predicted what salvaging a handful of books would lead to. I then, and now, am motivated to keep at this by the fact that I can’t stand to see really good books pulped, shredded, or taken to the landfill.

If others hadn’t jumped on the bandwagon, the bandwagon would be still.

Today, three years later – here we are. This morning, an email message, a very fancy and artful card inviting the Bright Lights Book Project to a reception for Diane Kaplan, the chief CEO for the Rasmuson Foundation, an Alaskan Based nonprofit organization that is philanthropic in nature. At first I thought the card was a ruse, but then I realized what it was. The enormity of being invited to this gathering then dawned on me. We’ve been a nonprofit for less than a year, and now are invited to an event in which established nonprofits will benefit.

There is just one drawback. This is a gala event. This means that Pete will have to wear a tie, and I will have to wear a dress. And this dress can’t be just any old dress – it has to be a fancy dress. Can I honestly do this?

I will just have to keep in mind the vision, which is ultimately going to be literacy classes and a distribution building. It all really is going to happen. Oh my dog.

Next: 347. 12/18/22: On Course

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