Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sweet Land - Tale from the Heartland

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the February 27, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

With the exception of a few years I spent living in such exotic places as Texas and Ireland, I spent the other 60 years of my life making my home on either the west or east coasts of the United States. I’ve lived within a drive to an ocean and sometimes had a bird’s eye view of a bay.

What about spacious skies, fruited plains, and waves of grain and the landscapes of The Great American Midwest? Besides a very quick drive (mostly at night) through the uppermost United States, the tall grasses of the prairies and the little houses in the big woods were simply foreign to me.
It wasn’t until I was fortunate enough in college to have a terrific American Lit professor that I was introduced to the short stories of Willa Cather. As it was a survey course covering many years, we concentrated on Wharton and Twain, Chopin and Hawthorne. It was the plain and simple language of Cather, however, that drew me in. I did, in fact, compare the grammatical construction of the short stories, “Neighbour Rosicky” by Cather and “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In my estimation, Cather won for the rhythms, the imagery, and emotion of her work.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Prints in the Snow

Read Jean Todesca's column in the February 20, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin. Jean is the Head of Children's Services at the Morrill Memorial Library.

Let’s just say, I live in the woods. Although my home is 17 miles southwest of Boston, you would think I lived in the Maine wilderness. Day to day, I forget the large amount of wildlife that surrounds me. With the current snowstorms that we have experienced, there are reminders everywhere. The many paths the deer created through the snow. The tiny white footprints impressions placed all over my driveway. The mounded tunnels running across the ground.

When my children were young, we identified many animal tracks using library books. We’ve seen deer, squirrel, opossum prints and many more. We watched tunnels develop that were created by voles and squirrels.

Animal tracking is a great outdoor activity for both adults and children. The Children’s Department has books to guide in the identification process. “Who Was Here? Discovering Wild Animal Tracks” by Mia Posada and “Wild Trackers! A Guide to Natures Footprints” by Jim Arnosky are nonfiction titles. “Who’s Been Here? A Tale in Tracks” by Fran Hodgkins and “Tracks in the Snow” by Wong Herbert Yee are picture book titles that will introduce the experience of tracking in story form.

As the animal population changed, I’ve returned to books to help identify coyote and fisher cat prints. As this snowy winter wears on, try animal tracking. You’ll never know what you might find in the “wilds” of Norwood.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Gift You Never Thought to Ask For

Charlotte Canelli is the library director of the Morrill Memorial Library in Norwood, Massachusetts. Read Charlotte's column in the February 12, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Last summer, we learned that we would be grandparents, again, in early 2015 and it was twins. Two more babies to love! How cool was that!

Early in the fall, our family was told that one of the babies not only had a severe heart defect but that she, our precious new granddaughter-to-be, would be one of the 6,000 babies born each year in the U.S. with Down syndrome.  Her twin and brother would be born “normal.”

Gerry and I were not sure if it was our old-age wisdom, or perhaps simply our unaffected acceptance of any baby to our family, that this child would have lessons, wisdom, and gifts to offer our family.  We were, so-to-speak, grateful just to know that she would be joining our family and we were convinced that all of our family would welcome our granddaughter and grandson with open, loving, and accepting arms.  We felt amazingly blessed with this news.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Answers to the Question Why

Bonnie Wyler is a Literacy/Outreach Librarian at the library. Read Bonnie's column in the February 5, 2015 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

I am known in my family of origin as the one who’s always asking questions, and

often too many.  The answer I often got was an exasperated, “WE don’t know!” 

Perhaps that is why I am drawn to books that answer the question “Why?”   Although

I love a good story I can lose myself in, at this point in my life I am more likely to

browse the nonfiction shelves of our library, looking for answers to questions about

health, nutrition, sleep and other quality of life topics.  I’m finding books that address

these questions in depth and satisfy my curiosity in the process.  Two of the topics

I’ve read about recently are memory and sleep.

Like most of us in middle or late middle-age, I wonder what has happened to my

memory.  These days I am making lists like crazy in order to remember important

appointments, errands, and my daily to-do list.  I can’t seem to remember anything for