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 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.


Melissa (McKenzie) Francis

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


  1. A beautiful tribute, Mel.

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

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

  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.

  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.


  6. What a lovely tribute!

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

  8. Librarians DO rock!

    That's so true!

  9. What a beautiful tribute, Mel.