Meeting My First Author

Back in the days when I was young (all so long ago), I used to frequent record stores and book shops.  It was where I spent most of my money.  I loved to listen to music, particularly on a turntable and enjoyed the packaging that went with it.  (While I loved cassettes and cds too, it just wasn't the same.)  I loved going to bookstores and finding treasures.  

I still love to listen to music, though it is now all done through a device that does not require me flipping over a record and I still love to read, although more and more I do so on an e-reader.  Although I have given up/away many records/cds/cassettes and books, there are still many in my house.  Some of that I will never let go of.  Why?  They touched me on some basis and they and the memories that I have of them are an important part of me.

The other day I learned that one of my favorite authors, Mary Higgins Clark, had passed away.  She was 92 years old and had written over 50 books.  (Some with her daughter, Carol.)  She also happens to be the first author that I ever had the pleasure to have met.

The first two books she had written, Where Are The Children and A Stranger Is Watching, were (and are) two of my favorite suspense novels.  I'll admit that I HAVEN'T read everything that she has written, but I have read most.  And I have enjoyed everything that I have read.  Although, her first novels are definitely some of her best work, in my opinion.

Sometime in 1987 she published the book Weep No More My Lady.  I don't know when exactly it come out in the year (spring, summer, fall winter?), but I do know that as a "local" author she did a book signing in the summer (I'll admit I don't know if it was the summer of 87 or 88).  One of the places she visited was an independent bookseller (which were more common in my world at that time than any big box) in West Caldwell, not too far from my home.  Again, I don't remember the exact date, but I have to assume it was a weekend.  And the only reason I know it was summer is because somewhere there photo of the two of us and I am wearing a sundress.  (I wanted to dig it out for this post, but...)

I remember going to the store:  Book World (I miss you!) and there not being anyone there.  Or at least not a crowd of people, which I thought there might be.  Was I there too early?  Or too late?  Maybe?  Or maybe it was just the time.

She was toward the back of the store and she was completely charming.  While I can't remember what was said, I do recall that she was sweet.  I purchased the book (in hardcover no less) and the owner of the store took a photo of the two of us (a Polaroid! Remember those.)  We spoke briefly.  I was shy (I still am) and I didn't want to take up too much of her time.  But I was thrilled that I to meet this self-made woman.

I loved the book; although as I've stated, Where Are The Children and A Stranger Is Watching will ALWAYS be favorites of mine.  Nothing will change that.  As a matter of fact, I have a sudden desire to read Where Are the Children right now.  (Though sadly I have lost my hard copy to basement water issues/mold.)

Mary Higgins Clark was what I want to be.  I'm not talking about a best-selling author (although I wish I could be that too); I'm referring to a woman who took a difficult situation (a young widow with children to raise) and ran with it.  She worked hard and continued to do so even when she could have easily rested on her laurels.  It's something I need to remember.  To keep pushing and keep doing.  To not let a "bad" situation define me.  But to let my own talents and hard work shine through.

Thank you Mary Higgins Clark for all of the stories and suspense.  For keeping me on the edge and not letting me go until the last pages.  You've left behind a legacy that will never be forgotten.


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