Reaney Days

Reaney Days

Friday, May 15, 2020

Something Wicked This Way Came

Dear Page Turners near and far,

To paraphrase Act 4, Scene 1 from Macbeth, “something wicked this way came”.  With a few rumbles of thunder, a pick up in the wind and torrential downpours, today’s anticipated bad weather arrived.  Here are a couple of photos looking south to the library park and across Kingsbury Avenue at about 530P.  How dark did it get?  Dark enough to turn the park lights on.  

I have been ensconced since 1030A working away like a bee in my hive.  When I heard about the bad weather and checked the forecast, I decided to stay put until it passes.  Lightening does not always play well with our fire alarm and I would rather be camped out at the library then drenched making a mad dash in. 

Our fabulous building was built in 1909 with a later addition in 1936.  Still standing after 111 years one can only imagine the forces of nature and historical events that it has witnessed.  Oh, if these walls could talk! 

These last couple of months, I have often wondered what librarian Kate Hough and her patrons talked about during the 1918 flu pandemic. Was the library closed like we are now? Unlike today, when we know everything almost before it happens, did the community even know what was coming? I don’t know.  What I do know is that our patron, Joseph Reaney, was instrumental in seeing the Masonic Temple was set up as a temporary hospital. 

Back to the subjects of storms.  When my daughter was around 3, a horrific storm rolled through the valley and yes, set off our alarm.  At that time, with a child so young and a husband who worked nights, my assistant, Marta Zimmerman, was on top of the call list.

A bit after the alarm had gone in, Marta called me and told me I had better get to the library.  Heading off in the rain, I packed Davida in her car seat, zoomed her to her next-door grandparents, and made my way to 19 Kingsbury Avenue. 
Three quarters of the street was lined with fire trucks and the PD.  The building had been struck and, in fact, our fire panel fried.  

We later learned that our dear housekeeper, Lucille Christman, who had been in the building cleaning at the time, felt the building shudder, and left. 
Marta told me when she arrived, fireman John Burkhart called out “Let her through, let her through!”  When I arrived the excitement was beginning to settle.  You can imagine the conversations Marta and I had for the next several days.

The rain has stopped, and now as I look out my office window, I see the first pink buds on the crab-apple tree.  Mr. Ernest Underwood; gentleman, farmer, educator and at one time, a long tenured library trustee, dug the hole and planted this beauty many years ago. 

As it blooms and blossoms, spare a thought for the wonderful and amazing people who have left their mark on our community.  People who have made a difference; including the ladies and gentlemen of the fire and police departments, and ambulance corps, and individuals like Joseph Reaney, Kate Hough, John Burkhart, Marta Zimmerman, Lucille Christman and Ernest Underwood. 

There are many tales yet to be shared from Libraryland, stories of fabulous adventures and awesome people,  but today I’ll leave you with one, last thought.

These are strange times we now find ourselves in.  Be kind and be there for each other.  Sometimes, it is just that simple.