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February 11, 2022: Forward Ho

I really never, ever expected anything like what’s happening with the book project to happen. I had a vision – I thought that maybe, just maybe, I might find appreciative readers for the books that came to VCRS.

I did not think that this project would become as big as it’s become in the Palmer area, much less in the surrounding areas. I did not think that I’d always have access to a ready source of books. I did not think that the Anchorage School District would want to donate books to the cause. I did not think that people would be wanting to volunteer and give an assist

It all started with a book sale at VCRS

I did not think that the Meeting House pipes would freeze up and that at the same time, we’d be getting books from the Mat-Su School District and that they’d fill a U-Haul storage locker. I did not think that I’d eventually find places for all those books.

I did not think that when I met her at Suzy Crosby’s goat farm, that I’d end up partnering with Milena Sevigny, the Public Relations Manager at TOTE, the potentate of shipping freight. I did not think that, together, we’d work to send books to bush communities.

I did not think that Pete would be as supportive as he’s been.

I did not think that the Anchorage Daily News would do a story on us and that they would send out Emily Mesner, a gifted photographer and feature writer to do this rather quirky assignment.

I most certainly did not think that this project would generate so much public interest.

I did not think that some of the volunteers who previously were acquaintances, would become good friends, Nan Potts, Bea Adler, Sheila Aay, Lois Leibing, and Bill Schmidtkunz included.

And I never thought I’d do a bicycle trip prompted by Frank Soos, my wonderful teacher, and that after writing an article for a bicycling anthology that he inspired, that he’d be killed in a bicycling accident.

If I’d peered into a crystal ball, and I saw what was to come, I would have taken refuge in a library carrel. My rationale for backing off would have been that I lacked the administrative ability and people skills needed to orchestrate something like this.

And so tonight, in thinking about this, I realized that there was a certain inevitability here. I saw all those books in all those Gaylords, and I realized that I would not be able to continue on with a clear conscience if I allowed the paperbacks and the hardbacks to continue to be shredded.

Two images now remain in mind. The first was driving into the VCRS parking lot and each day seeing a yellow school bus. This meant that a slew of mentally disabled individuals were already hard at work, shredding books.

These individuals and their very kind supervisor stopped shredding when Covid raised its ugly head. Other volunteers have since taken up the slack. I think that now they are only shredding books that are torn, worn, and damaged.

The second image was of a Gaylord filled with young adult books from the Mat-Su School District. Bill and I stood there together, wondering what to do with the books, which were duplicates. I sensed that they’d have to shredded because who would want duplicates of young adult books?

I discovered that some village schools want duplicate books. So today, Pete and I took eleven boxes of books to the TOTE warehouse. They are going to Point Hope. And earlier today, a Point Hope school district representative emailed me and said he will work with us in order to assure that the books end up in the right places.

I am out of words. I’m going to read this evening. Allowing other writers give voice to their ideas is as important as giving voice to my own ideas.

Next: 43. 2/12/22: Drama

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