I first stepped inside the Edgartown Library the day after Thanksgiving 1995. Wow! Twenty years ago! I was there to do research for my 4th novel, PLACES BY THE SEA, which later turned into one of my 6 (almost 7!) books that take place on this magical island.
Back then, I knew no one here. I stayed in an Inn across from the library on North Water Street. Each day, I spent hours in the library’s tiny research room, making notes at the round oak table under the big Boston fern. I did not have a laptop (not sure if they existed yet), but I had lots of pens and a few notebooks. After the third day, the librarians called me by name.
By late afternoon, I walked a block down the street to The Newes, the congenial pub at the Kelley House. I ate lunch by the fireplace, scribbling notes of characters, plots, and the charm of the Vineyard.
Over the years, I came and went from the library (and The Newes!) many times. When I spent the winter of 2010-11 here, I sat nearly every day at that round oak table. By then I wasn’t sure I could write a “Vineyard book” unless I was parked in my favorite spot.
Soon the big, new, beautiful library will open, and it will be magnificent, though a bit bittersweet. But in the meantime, there was the “Christmas in Edgartown” parade to tend to.
When Lisa Sherman, the Library Director, asked if I wanted to walk with them down Main Street alongside their “float” (actually, a decorated dump truck), handing out cards for “Fine-Free” days and tossing candy into the crowd, I jumped at the chance. After all, I owe them. I happily donned the Santa hat and, with every step on the parade route, I was reminded that without the library, I might not have had such a long and wonderful writing career.
I only hope that when they move to the new building, someone remembers to bring the big Boston fern.
Happy Holidays to all!