August 1, 2011

Never without a book

I remember the magical feeling when, as a kid, I had saved up enough money for a new book and got to go to the back of Marie Beemer's stationery store on Brinkerhoff Street to make my selection.

In those days, I was reading the Black Stallion and Nancy Drew series, and I can still picture standing in that little cubby trying to decide which book to buy.

In have always loved to read. In school, I actually enjoyed "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," Shakespeare and other classics we had to read for English class.

In my college years, I read everything by Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut, Herman Hesse, Charles Dickens, Tennessee Williams and others. I thought "Wuthering Heights" was the best love story I ever read — still do.

Now, in my reading, I mix classics with biographies and modern novels (among my favorite books in recent years are "The Kite Runner" and "The Secret Life of Bees.")

Besides an occasional Agatha Christie, though, I rarely read mysteries. But I became interested in one recently when I attended the Friends of Plattsburgh Public Library annual luncheon and heard the guest speaker, Julia Spencer-Fleming.

Although she lives in Maine, the author — whose latest book made the New York Times list — has a big connection to Plattsburgh. Her parents met here.

Her father was a B-47 pilot/navigator from Alabama who was stationed at Plattsburgh Air Force Base when he met her mother, a Plattsburgh State student named Lois — I always take note of that name as I meet so few.

They married before Lois entered her senior year at Plattsburgh State, and their daughter was born in Argyle, Washington County, six days after her mother's graduation.

Sadly, the author's father died in the 1962 crash of a B-47 on Mount  Wright in the Adirondacks.

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