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Tomorrow I will be heading to my hometown of Blackstone, MA to join local author Stacy Juba in a joint appearance at the Blackstone Public Library and Renaissance Books in Uxbridge, MA.

If you’d like to stop by, we’ll be at the Blackstone Public Library from 12:30-2:00, speaking, reading, answering questions, and signing books.  Then we’ll be down the road in Uxbridge at 3:00 for another appearance at the local bookstore.  

My sister lives one town over from our hometown, so I occasionally return to my old stomping grounds, but almost always just to pass through.  But this time it’s likely that I will see some old faces and have the opportunity to say hello to some old friends.

I can’t wait. 

I can remember my version of the Blackstone Public Library well:

A small, one room library located on the first floor of the Town Hall and containing, if memory serves me correctly, a total of six to eight stacks of books. 

Not a lot in comparison to many of the libraries of today.

As I recall, the room was also poorly lighted, less-than-inviting, and contained almost no place to sit and read a book.  It was strictly a get-your-book-and-go operation.  

Yet I adored the library as a kid.  Having grown up in a house with few books and almost no children’s books, the Blackstone Public Library’s collection of books was enormous in my eyes.  I remember riding my bike to Town Hall the first time, signing up for a blue library card, and choosing my first book.  The title has escaped me for years, but it was a science fiction story in which all the tallest buildings in the world have begun to melt from the top in rivulets of silver and black.  From what can recall, aliens were attempting to save the human race by halting industrial progress and returning the world to a simpler time, which included buildings no higher than two stories.  I’m pretty sure that humankind ultimately agreed with the aliens and bowed to their demands.

I’ve looked for the title and author of this book many times without success.  If anyone knows it, please let me know.

I wonder if the library still owns a copy of the book. 

That was just the beginning of a childhood adventure with books.  I can remember feverishly going through the library’s Stephen King collection and discovering THE LORD OF THE RINGS for the first time.  I recall asking the librarian for any more Douglas Adams books and being disappointed in discovering that there was no sequel to LORD OF THE FLIES. 

I loved that tiny library. 

Apparently, my tiny library no longer exists, replaced by a free-standing building that seems to be located on the site of my old middle school (and my father’s old high school), making tomorrow’s experience even more surreal.

Of course, there’s a brand new elementary school on the street that I grew up on, named after my old elementary school principal, making the whole town seem like from another time to me, so perhaps the middle school turned library isn’t so strange after all. 

I have some great stories about AF Maloney Middle School to share someday.

And hopefully I’ll have some great stories about tomorrow’s appearance to share next week.