Monday, June 29, 2009

Thanks, Kids. Thanks, Doyles.

Like about any modest public institution, NPL has faced its share of economic shortfalls this year. Donations to the annual fund are down. The state library has discontinued some of its services --that sort of thing.

Enter the Doyles. Jeff and Maureen and kids Clio, Finley, and Zola were discussing what might be done to help out NPL, and the By Kids For Kids Yard Sale was born.

The idea was simple and elegant at the same time: kids could gather together the books, toys, and gear that they no longer needed and offer it up for sale on the library lawn. They pre-priced it and brought it down, to sell and split the profits with NPL.

As these pictures attest, (thanks, Peter Money!) the event was as photogenic as it was profitable. Behold--the next generation of entrepreneurs!

Best of all, we on the staff were energized and downright moved by the thoughtful actions of the community, starting with the Doyles. They made us feel so appreciated.

The entire event reminded me of a Ramblin' Jack Elliott concert I attended long ago. The audience was yelling out requests of their favorite songs. "Don't Think Twice!" hollered a fan. Ramblin' Jack obliged.

"Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out!" somebody called, when that song was done.

Ramblin' Jack fixed him with A Look.

"Oh yes they do," he said.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Local Delicacy

I've expressed my enthusiasm for The American Scholar, the magazine of Phi Beta Kappa, in these posts before. If you haven't taken a look at this lively magazine, here's a local pretext for doing so now.

Norwich's own Rob Gurwitt has published a delightful and well written piece on his Sunday pizza gatherings at the town oven. It's fun to read about the history of that oven, to read mentions of Suzanne Lupien and his own desire to use pizza making as a means for gathering community together.

You'll find Rob's article is in the latest issue of American Scholar. Also in the issue are new poems by Gary Snyder, a reassessment of the Reagan presidency, a fable by Thornton Wilder, and a piece on why your waitress might be smarter than you are. Stimulating reading!

I hadn't known about Rob's pizza gatherings before reading his article. I find myself wanting to learn more about his pizza aesthetic, having sampled his wonderful writing.