despite end-of-the-world quality rain, we had a GOING OVER party

Thursday, May 1, 2014

You could say that I have pretty lousy book-launch party luck. Once, for example, a short first printing left us with only a handful of books for the book party. Once we launched the book on the very same night that every available parking space had already been consumed by another event, sending some would-be party goers home.

And then there was last night—24 hours or so into an historic deluge that had drains busted, streets flooded, cars stranded, basements swimming. This was the GOING OVER launch day. My email kept pinging with notes from people who had planned to come but couldn't. Oh dear, I thought. Oh, my. Because who would drive flooded streets in dark, unstopping rain for a book? Who would dare float toward Berlin?

You could say that I have lousy luck, but I'm not going to claim that here. Because the fact is this: despite impossible weather that demanded all variety of rubber foot gear, we had a party. Pam and Molly of Radnor Memorial Library are famous for their generosity, and there they were again—gracious, open-hearted, slicing into that cake. Beside that cake stood the GOING OVER vessel my clay-arts friend, Karen Bernstein, had made.

And in the audience—because we did have an audience—were my father and husband, neighbors of now and a dear neighbor of then, long-time friends, fellow writers, a Berlin scholar and a Berlin traveler, the inimitable Kevin Ferris of the Inquirer, three sweet-and-smart-as-heck Little Flower Catholic High School students (Kathleen, Amber, Julia) and their Sister Kim, and a Radnor High contingent—Rib, Jim, Tom—who had orchestrated a sweet surprise. They look precisely the same as they did those years ago. I could not believe it.

Then there was Heather, that gorgeous young woman featured above, who was the inspiration for Ada in GOING OVER. Her face. Her deep connection to color and life. Some of the secrets she once whispered into my ear while I sat in her hair-salon chair. I love that I can show you who she is, right here. Ada is one of my favorite characters, and Heather is even greater than fiction.

Those who came last night had to brave the weather. They had to decide to leave their homes in a sinking mess of a day and make the drive. Sister Kim and her girls ultimately spent three hours in a car. Soup had to drive the highways. My father had to dodge the flooded potholes. Kevin had to walk a long block in soaking rain.

Everyone had to disregard the police barrier that signaled that, due to excessive rains, the road to the library was closed.

It was not closed. Pam and Molly made sure of that.

(And Children's Book World made sure we had books!)

Afterward, my dear friends Elizabeth Mosier and Kelly Simmons treated me to their glorious selves, their raucous laughter, pizza, white wine. But let's get back to their "glorious selves" part.

Thank you. Everyone. For coming. Thank all of you who would have been there if you could. I really believe in this story, GOING OVER. But more than that, I believe in you.


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