From 1968 until July 31, 2022, I had one librarian.
At the start, when I was five, racing into the Davenport Public Library weekly, the overdue fines piled up fast. But Miss. Murray never refused to check out a book to me. She kept a quiet tally, trusting someday I would settle up.
More than fifty years later, she was still on the job, aiding research involved in writing projects, sending me notes like this:
“The Special Collections Department had the enclosed information I thought you would like to have.”
Rochelle played an important role in the local writing community that offered me a safe and inspiring haven when I had no other hopeful place to go as a troubled teenager in Urban Iowa. She was a staunch advocate of literacy, a gentle warrior the world is weaker without.
To read more about her remarkable life, follow the link below.
Follow the link below to hear an interview with me conducted by Don Wooten, in the seventh decade of his broadcasting career, and Roald Tweet, Augustana College professor emeritus, at NPR affiliate WVIK on June 27, 2019:
1. Stale-smelling rented room where a humble writing club meets on Thursday night in the Quad-Cities.
2. Small house or apartment the club member heads toward after a post-meeting snack, the breaded Pork T and/or finger-dewing onion rings at Riefe’s Diner,
3. Upset earth of new I-80 real estate developments glimpsed on the drive home.
4. Drawer where manuscripts rest peacefully after criticism and revision, awaiting the next reader.
For a quarter Writers’ Studio members could purchase a bottle of warm cola from the club treasurer, John. Few did. When better “digs” (as Cozie put it) were eventually located in Davenport, the beverages were left behind for the next thirsting tenant. (p. 27, River Bend Chronicle: The Junkification of a Boyhood Idyll amid the Curious Glory of Urban Iowa)