Friday, May 21, 2010

Annual Book Awards to Students at St. John's Parochial School, Boston

Address by
David Trumbull
on the Occasion of the
Mary U. Nichols Book Award Ceremony
Friday, May 21, 2010
at the
North End Branch Boston Public Library

Thank you, it is a privilege to speak here today at the 62nd Mary U. Nichols Book Award Ceremony. Branch librarian, Janet Buda, graciously provided me with some background material—newspaper clippings from the library’s files—regarding Miss Nichols, the award itself, and the men and women who have given this address in the past. I must say, I bring up the rear of a rather impressive train. Past speakers have included the Director of the Boston Public Library, a well-known radio announcer, a bishop of the Roman Catholic Church, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. I bring none of the prestige of those speakers, but I do share with them the love of libraries.

Growing up in a small town in the Middle-West of America, our local library, the Rawson Memorial Library—which by the way, just celebrated its 100th year of serving that small village of 2,000 souls—was, for a school-boy, a window to a world of ideas. That is where I read the news journals my poor family could not have bought for me—National Review on the right, The New Republic on the left—that fired my interest in politics and current events. That interest has remained with me and lead me to my professional life as the representative for American textile mills in matters of international trade law, and to my civic life as local chairman for one of the parties in our American two-party system.

The public library is also were I found Robert Benchley, James Thurber, S.J. Perelman, and other American humor writers. That early exposure to written English as a source of laughter also stayed with me. Today I have the extreme pleasure of heading up a small literary society the Robert Benchley Society. We also give out an annual award—in our case for excellence in humor writing.

The library was where, when was in about fourth or fifth grade, I first read the books of Beverly Cleary. She was a popular children’s author back then. I understand her books are still in print, so perhaps some of you also have enjoyed her tales of the boy Henry Huggins and the girl who was always getting in his hair, Ramona the Pest. I loved those books so much that—with prompting from my sixth grade teacher—I wrote to her to tell her how much I enjoyed her stories about young people who had experiences just like mine. She wrote back and thanked me—I wish I still had that letter from her!

You young people have proven yourself outstanding in English. Congratulations! Keep up the good work. As you get older you will find that reading—reading carefully—, and writing—good clear writing—, will be two skills that can take you far in life. American is great land full of opportunities. Where every girl or boy can grow up to be President, or a doctor, or a lawyer, or a scientist, or a dancer, or an explorer. Life is a journey, and the library is a good place to start the journey.

Again, thank you all for this opportunity to share my person story about the public library.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Saturday, May 15th is Straw Hat Day

May 15th is Straw Hat Day the beginning of the season when men may wear their straw boaters and Panamas rather than the fur felt fedoras, porkpies, homburgs, and bowlers that we wear (You do wear a hat, don't you?) the rest of the year. For more information see Straw hats may be worn until Felt Hat Day which is September 15th.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Collect for the Fifth Sunday of Easter

O Almighty God, whom truly to know is everlasting life: Grant us so perfectly to know thy Son Jesus Christ to be the way, the truth, and the life, that we may steadfastly follow his steps in the way that leadeth to eternal life; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.