There is a beautiful picture book in the Children’s Room called “The Hello-Goodbye Window”. It won the coveted Caldecott Medal in 2006, for its delightful illustrations. It tells the story of a little girl who frequently visits her grandparents whom she loves very much. She sees them in the window as she arrives and again as she is leaving, happy at the beginning and sad at the end. It’s a perfect way to describe our feelings about two of the library’s dearest friends.
Larry McMullen was one of those guys who always seemed to show up when you needed him. For many years, he was President of the McKenzie Lions Club, which until a year or so ago paid the library’s utility bills and provided much of the maintenance for the building. Twice, he was the one who rounded up the painters to repaint the exterior, hauled all the supplies to the library, kept the pressure on until the job was completed, and did it with enthusiasm and a smile. He came to help paint the Children’s Room on a Saturday in September five years ago; said he could stay for only an hour because he wasn’t feeling very well that day. He stayed until it was finished. Every time I look at the yellow strip around that room I think of Larry, up on a ladder, cracking jokes.
Often during the last few months of his life, he would come to the library in the off hours, his lovely granddaughter sometimes accompanying him, to return and borrow books. He loved the Leaburg Library. And we loved him. Larry left us on July 27th, very quietly and with great dignity. But yet as we say goodbye, other voices on another shore bid him hello.
We also have to say goodbye to Dee Anderson who is moving to the Seattle area where most of her children are living. Dee was the Director of the library for seventeen years, and in that time endeared herself to everyone with her passion for and commitment to the library, her dedication to the people of this community, and her marvelous sense of humor, especially when things looked a bit bleak! I’ll always remember her running outside to take pictures of the lovely huge trees that used to shade the building before they were cut down to make room for the Fire District’s Training Center. She pasted the photos on a poster along with her heartfelt plea - “Remember The Trees!” I don’t think our Fire Chief Darren Bucich will ever forget that!
Dee led several successful fundraisers which have kept the library afloat, and recruited so many wonderful volunteers who have also kept the library afloat. Although we, of course, wish her only the very best in her new home, it is difficult to say goodbye.
Perhaps the author of “The Hello-Goodbye Window” says it best: “Everything important happens near the hello-goodbye window, or through it, or beyond it. You can be happy and sad at the same time, you know. It just happens that way.” Godspeed.
I’ll see you at the library.
Marty Mealey, Director