Saturday, October 18, 2008


The leaves are changing colors in Somer, New York. But that is not the only thing that is brilliant there. Today I visited Somer Middle School. This is a return trip and coming back was a pleasure. The students are the kind of kids that greet you in the hall if you pass by. This is a rare occurrence. I should know. I visit a lot of middle schools.

Cathy Gelman is not only a great librarian, she is a champion of raising funds for breast cancer. All of over school, teachers wore sweats in honor of the race for a cure because of Cathy's enthusiasm for the cause.

Two other reasons behind my visit are Sallyann and Laura, moms extraordinaire. During signing books and eating lunch, I got to hear about Sallyann's Irish roots and Laura's South Carolina's one. Later Laura emailed me and asked, "Does your accent get deeper when you go back home?" "Oh, yes," I wrote back, comforted that someone else experienced this too.

As I travel around the country, I'm reminded, again and again, how our roots define us through accents and stories. And though my time with these ladies was brief, today we shared them over Reuben sandwiches, salads and Sallyann's Magic Bars. I love talking to kids about writing, but these moments give me more reasons to treasure school visits.

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