Friday, March 2, 2012

While I've Been Away

So. I've been away, away in the busy townships northwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, talking to hundreds of school children. Making them laugh. Telling them about the virtues of history, of knowing their nation's stories & people. Drawing pictures of dead Presidents. Playing my harmonica. Signing books. Being taken back to my motel at the end of the day to flop onto the bed, exhausted. You wouldn't think it would be so tiring, talking all day. Being on.
But it is.
I got to meet wonderful people I'd never have known, if I didn't get to do school visits. [I stayed in a motel directly near a Hooters (!) AND the hills and fields where General George Washington and his troops suffered through the winter of 1777-1778 at Valley Forge, which I was taken to see - golly, how cold and smoky must have been those wooden huts, the stone houses where the steadfast General worried, pored over maps...] Who knew that being a children's book person involved public speaking, traveling to elementary schools. For all of the commonality of decorated bulletin boards, libraries, and principals' offices, cubbies and coat hooks, each school has its own personality. Gosh, I love this part of my job. Being funny. Visiting with readers, readers of books I brought into the world. It's good to be reminded that I did that. When else do I feel so alive, as when I'm in front of a roomful of kids? Never.
While I was away, one of the Monkees died. Tornadoes whipped through the midwest. I worried about people looking up at the sky, hearing sirens, wondering if they and their homes and their possessions would make it through; worried about my dog Mimi in her cage at the vet's pet hotel, being scared of the thunder; about my cat, home alone. I called my sister to see if she was all right. She was.
And now I'm home again, me and Mimi.
It's good.

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