Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Philadelphia Stories

On Sunday my friend Stephanie joined me for the day at the Philadelphia Book Festival. While we were there to sell books and meet people, the best part of the day was having so many folks stop by and tell us their stories. I've recounted a few of the highlights of the day. I am grateful to everyone who stopped by and shared their stories with us.

Most Beautiful Kiss of my Life
An African American gentleman came by a took a handful of tootsie rolls declaring they were his favorite candy as a kid. Then he asked us if we ever lived in Israel, we said, "No." He asked me where I was from originally, I told him Pittsburgh.

He then told us a story of how he was in Pittsburgh years ago at a club called Disco 2000 where he met this woman. She was beautiful and they ended up back at his hotel room. When he wanted to see her again she told him it was just a one night stand as she had no intention of ever falling in love again. Another man broke her heart.

"Some people are like that," he said. "They can't take the heartbreak so they just want a one time thing. She was a beautiful kisser," he said. "The best kiss of my whole life."

He said as soon as the weather got warm he was going back to Pittsburgh and, "who knows?" he said, "maybe we'll all meet up there."

Come to my Party
I had to weigh down my handouts with bottles of water. A woman came over dressed in her church clothes, including a hat and was trying to get my information sheet. I told her why I was using the water bottles, she said, "I would have to be crazy to not understand that. I have lived in this city all my life and I know what kind of wind can come whipping up behind you and surprise, take everything on this table down. You don't have to explain to me."

She then went on to tell me about how much she loved books and the library and how having a place to go to read books saved her as a child. She took two of everything saying that was her policy, to always give what you find to someone else. Pass the good along.

She told us she planned on living to 125 and then shocked me when she said she was 67, the woman looked almost younger than me. She said as she walked away, "I'm going to do it and when I do I want you to come to my party. Everyone is going to be there."

Thank God, The Last Bridge!
A man who looked like a skinnier version of Santa Claus carrying books on computer programming and wearing a kelly green tattered sport jacket stopped at the beginning of the table and declared, "Thank God, The Last Bridge. We have way too many of them to begin with - the last one at last."

Man on a Mission
A retired electrical engineer came by to ask me if he could take my picture to post on Library Thing. I told him I was already on LT with my picture. He said it was one of his missions to get as many author photos on Library Thing as possible. He was a man with many missions including updating relevant Wikipedia articles, keeping track of the 1000+ books he has and trying to document as much local history as possible.

"My wife thinks I'm crazy," he said.

There were lots more stories and conversations and connections. Oh and we sold some books too!

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