Monday, September 29, 2008

In Loving Memory of Ophelia Sullivan

Dear Ms. Sullivan,

You probably don't remember this, but you changed my life.

I was a voracious reader as a child. I had read all of the Little House on the Prairie books, Nancy Drew, and Hardy Boys. I was in dire need of something new, so I went to you, my school librarian.

And you changed my life by introducing me to Judy Blume.

I read ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME MARGARET. in one day. I came back for more. I read DEENIE (hands down my favorite of the Blume books) twice the next week. Judy Blume books were like brain cheese dip. I couldn't get enough. I ate up everything Judy Blume. Yes, even the naughty ones (which I didn't know were 'naughty' until much later...so I reread them.)

I didn't know it then, but you introduced me to a world that I wanted to be a part of. I was thirty years old before I realized how much I wanted to write. I wanted to inspire others the way Judy Blume inspired me. The day you handed me AYTG?IMM, was the day I discovered that fiction didn't have to be predictible or sad or cheesy.

Later in life, you and my mother became good friends. I know you were proud of me for pursuing my dream. You told my mother on numerous occasions. You were excited about reading my book--and that excited me.

I cannot express how heavy my heart is today. I knew you were fighting cancer. I knew it was a tough battle. Thank you for being my inspiration. You will be greatly missed.

Sincerely,

Melissa (McKenzie) Francis

PS: Everyone go hug your librarian today. Librarians rock.

10 comments:

  1. A beautiful tribute, Mel.

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  2. Aw man. This made me cry. *sniff* Well said, Mel. Thank GOD for librarians.

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  3. I think I'll email mine right now.

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  4. thanks y'all. I think my hubby thought I was nuts yesterday when I was tearing up, but srsly, she was a huge influence on my writing. The world is not going to be the same without her.

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  5. Oh how sad but your words were so lovely, Mel.

    October is pink. I've got some incredible things coming up and I'm totally putting out a ribbon for your beloved friend and mentor.

    Hug.

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  6. What a lovely tribute!

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  7. Beautiful, Mel. My heart is with you.

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  8. Librarians DO rock!

    That's so true!

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  9. What a beautiful tribute, Mel.

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