From the Stacks

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Julie Orf

Dunklin County Library

Things happen for a reason. Whether known as collective unconscious, life force, or connectedness, confidence comes from knowing that we are not isolated from one another or the earth and the life on it. If we are all part of a bigger picture, then we must not harm others because we will be harming ourselves. We must not exploit either. An awareness of these responsibilities creates a value system based on concern, consideration, and acceptance.

There is a “ripple” that connects people and events together. People connect seemingly random things to find meaning, value, information or explanation. They see events, interpersonal interactions and emotional elements, all coming together to create a beautiful picture that would never be formed alone. They are often weavers of compelling and dynamic stories.

Because meaning or memories are attached to items, some people cannot get rid of things keeping receipts, movie tickets, and cards. Ask a woman about her necklace and she may describe who gave it to her and much more meaning. Ask a man about his watch and hear about a trip to Brazil. How are you connected to things?

A week or so ago, my friend posted on Facebook how she adored the song, “Anything Goes”, from the musical of the same name. I recalled singing that show stopping number with Jim Berry at an event many years ago as Mrs. Schell played the piano. What a grand memory! Therefore, I pulled The Cole Porter Story by Richard G. Hubler from the shelves of biographies. This short biography is entertaining with numerous inside Hollywood stories and tales from the lights of Broadway. From these pages, Cole Porter is portrayed as a gentleman who understood how connecting people worked and aided others to succeed.

Vera-Ellen: The Magic and the Mystery by Howard David Soren was donated to the library. This book reveals the struggles of this gorgeous, talented woman who had one of the tiniest waists in showbiz. With insider stories from movie sets and boardrooms, a well-written biography, from an author who idolized Vera, paints a picture of a beautiful, tragic star who retired early and died too soon as well. For all the “White Christmas” movie fans, connect with this actress and read about all her other amazing films.

A gripping story of deception and passion, The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton will demand your attention and may even keep you up at night. A richly developed novel of mysteries and secrets, murders and enduring love set during World War II, the 1960s, and the present. Beginning at a family picnic, teenager, Laurel, daydreams in her childhood treehouse about a boy, moving to London, and becoming famous. However, she witnesses a crime that changes everything. Fast-forward to 2011, Laurel is now an acclaimed actress who is haunted by these secrets. Returning to the family farm, she begins to obtain answers from a story of three individuals brought together during the war. Morton connects these three time periods together with strong characters, elevated prose, and a distinct surprise ending.

Twice a week, Lucy Dailey leaves her suburban home with her three children in tow, returning to the Brooklyn home where she grew up and where her stepmother and unmarried sisters still live. Aunt Veronica, with her wounded face and dreams of beauty, drowns her sorrows in drink. Aunt Agnes, a caustic student of elegance, sips only from the finest crystal watching Aunt May, the ex-nun, blossom with a late and unexpected love. The children witness the actions and relationships of these complex and secretive family members. At Weddings and Wakes by Alice McDermott is a multi-generational story about every day experiences. Actually, not much happens in this novel, but the detail and the power of observation remind the reader of connecting childhood memories to the understood truth of adulthood.

Michelle Tillis Lederman wrote in her self-help book, 11 Laws of Likability, “Building relationships is not about transactions—it’s about connections.” 25 years ago, my friend Sandra and I invited the new elementary principal and the new junior high coach to have dinner with us as a welcome to the community. That day, August 17, just happened to be the coach’s birthday. Coach Orf and I connected on his birthday, and we have been together ever since that first day. Oh, happy day!

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