Category Archives: From the Library – A Weekly Column

Indianapolis – A City and a Ship – by Charlotte Canelli

Read Charlotte Canelli’s column in the March 20, 2014 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

Last week, a day or so before I was scheduled to travel to a professional library association conference in Indianapolis, I stumbled across a book on the discount shelf in the Barnes and Noble entryway. The name in the title, Indianapolis, piqued my interest because I was curious about the city that warned of over 8 inches of snow buffeting a bevy of hotels crowded around a busy convention center.

I’m a city-lover and I wondered what memories and images I take home with me from the Indiana’s capitol. Conferences never leave me sufficient time for meandering or touring, yet I always try to fit in a journey to the library or to a park where I can learn a bit of a city’s history or glean a taste of its culture. So, I decided to check out a copy of Doug Stanton’s “In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors” (2001) from our the library and read it on the plane. (more…)

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Lords of the Household – by Margot Sullivan

Margot Sullivan is a part-time reader’s advisory and reference librarian at the Morrill Memorial Library. Read her column as published in the Norwood Transcript & Bulletin on March 13, 2014

The library will begin its ONE BOOK ONE COMMUNITY READ with multiple events on Tuesday March 25. As many of you may already know the book that we chose is FOLLOWING ATTICUS: FORTY-EIGHT HIGH PEAKS, ONE LITTLE DOG, AND AN EXTRAORDINARY FRIENDSHIP by Tom Ryan. I have already learned that Atticus is a miniature schnauzer and is a delightful dog to have as a companion. This got me thinking about the pets in my life and I was amazed to remember some names!

We did have a puppy dog for about two weeks when I was probably about 5 and my brother was 3. I “think” the dog’s name was Tippy. After Tippy gnawed the arms of one of my Mothers nice upholstered chairs he was returned to puppy land. The chair remained with us forever and you could visibly see the teeth marks! We also had a wonderful canary named Sammy (maybe Uncle Sam). I do not know what happened to him or how long he was with us. The next animal in our family became our very beloved pet for 22 years. Topsy (I do not know who named her) was a kitten we chose on the last day of our vacation on Monhegan Island, Maine when I was probably 6 or so. My Dad put her in a cardboard box for the boat travel and she was ours forever. Dad always proclaimed that she was such a good cat with great longevity because she came from Maine. We are cat people! Along came Inky a coal black tiny kitten and then an orange cat- I forget her name.

Thus ends my childhood pets. We have always had cats from the time before our son was born right up to today. First came a brother and sister Frodo and Gimli – treasured cats who lived with us for many years. Frodo was NOT a very good hunter and probably would not have been successful in a quest to get rid of a ring but Gimli was. The next two kittens also a brother and sister were PippIn (Peregrin Took) and Brandy (Meriadoc Brandybuck). Pippen died early but Brandy was a spoiled calico cat with a wonderful disposition. Now we have two sibling brothers Strider (Aragorn’s other name) and Grey (Gandalf the Grey). Can you guess one of Margot’s very very favorite sagas – LORD OF THE RINGS by Tolkien??? We now keep our cats in and have delighted in seeing very strong personalities. Stridey is a bully and not too bright and Gray is a hunter and affectionate and unfortunately has to do a lot of hiding. We love them.

BUT this does not mean that we deprived our son of other wonderful pets. You know those great goldfish that one wins at the local carnival? Well- Mark brought one home and of course we had to get the goldfish bowl, the food etc. and try to learn about fish. I hate to say this but he did not last very long. Then I remember Mark coming home with a lizard and I think he named it Reggie. Well, Reggie did not last too long either – I was not happy when he escaped in the living room!

On Wednesday March 26 at 7PM come meet Atticus and Tom Ryan at the movie theater. The program is for adults and young adults. Those desiring to attend must register at the library 781-769-0200 x110. The program is free. Tickets will be held at the theater.

By the way the library has a great book collection on pets of all kinds mostly in the 636 category. A few suggestions might include: “Before and After Getting Your Puppy” by Dr. Ian Dunbar 636.7 Dunbar, “The Perfect Kitten How to Raise a Problem Free Cat” by Peter Neville 636.8 Nev. “Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish” by David Alderton 639.34 Alderton, “Lizard Care From A to Z” by R.D.Bartlett 639.39 Bar, and a variety of other instructional and informative items. Do come to the library and tell us about your pet!

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The Long Winter – by Charlotte Canelli

Read Charlotte Canelli’s column in the March 6, 2014 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

This winter, the mounds of snow, the icy walks, and seemingly never-ending Nor’easters have reminded me of two famous books.  One is the “Winter of Our Discontent” by John Steinbeck.  The other is “The Long Winter” by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Of course, the “Winter of Our Discontent” by Steinbeck doesn’t reference snow and ice and storms. Steinbeck’s “Winter” is based on the first lines of Shakespeare’s “Richard III”, a play that eludes to a stormy and metaphorical winter of discontent, contrasted by the analogous splendid summer.  The discontent is relevant because of the constant dialogue we’ve all had with ourselves and each other.  “I’ve had it with winter!”  “Winter makes me sick.”  Or “Winter.  I’m sooooo done with it.” Discontent might be an understatement. (more…)

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Running With Conviction – by Charlotte Canelli

Read Charlotte Canelli’s column in the February 27, 2014 edition of the Norwood Transcript and Bulletin.

When Marian Walsh was 33 years old, she sensed that something was missing in her life. Born into a loving family in one of Boston’s southernmost neighborhoods – Roslindale, Walsh attended and graduated from Ursuline Academy in Dedham and Newton College of the Sacred Heart in Newton Centre (part of Boston College since 1974).<–!more–>

By 1988, she had several advanced degrees – a master’s degree from Harvard’s Divinity school and a law degree from Suffolk University.  Yet, Walsh felt what she now describes as a ‘void’ in her life. She had been raised with a sense of gratitude – or paying it back. That feeling of appreciation became a passion for public service as a means to pay it forward.

Marian Walsh recounts the story that when she reported her father that she wanted to run for office, he cautioned her to go home and sleep on it. Her father had and has always been one of her role models and an inspiring example of goodness and faith.  Dr. Walsh might have even hoped that she’d change her mind.

Marian did sleep on it and soon after she decided she wanted to become a representative in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

And that meant she would have to RUN.

And so, she began in the winter of 1988 to RUN for the office of representative in the Massachusetts House. In the next eight months, she learned how to challenge others in a primary and general election to win a seat to serve the 10th Suffolk District. Her efforts were methodical and organized, ground swelling and successful.  Marian discovered that it doesn’t matter how many votes you get –what matters is that you get enough votes to win.

Sometime before last Christmas, I was sent Marian’s book “Run: Your Personal Guide to Winning Public Office” (2012) and asked if I would be interested in interviewing Marian for Norwood Public Access –TV. I’m always enthusiastic about reading, of course, and find meeting and interviewing authors challenging and rewarding.  And fun, to be honest. I’m not particularly camera-shy, and interviewing is my preferred camera-time. I agreed, and we set a date for the interview. (Check NPA-TV schedules for times and dates that this interview will be broadcast).

I took Marian’s book with me over my Christmas holiday vacation, wanting to find some time to begin reading. My poor husband, Gerry, found it there on my nightstand and finally asked one day if I were planning on running for office. I certainly thought he knew me better than that! The last election in which I ran against an opponent was in 8th grade. I lost. That explains why, while I’ve been elected many times to boards of the organizations I volunteer for, I never run opposed but prefer the automatic shoe-in vote.

However, while I wasn’t planning to compete for a political office, I wanted and needed to read Marian Walsh’s book cover to cover before the interview.  Not only did I want to know more about our former senator, I was curious about her journey to the State House. I quickly realized that it is not just a useful book for potential candidates, but a book about following your heart, keeping your faith, and continually challenging yourself. It is a personal story of Walsh’s strength, resolution, inspiration, organization, and realization of a goal.

Additionally, it’s a reminder about the freedom we cherish as Americans, particularly those of us who live so close to where it all began in 1776 with the Declaration of Independence.  The cover of Walsh’s book depicts a beloved work of art – one of Norman Rockwell’s “Four Essential Human Freedoms”, the “Freedom of Speech”.  In the introduction to her book, Marian instructs the reader that Rockwell was inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address to Congress on January 6, 1941.  Rockwell’s series of four oil paintings were completed by 1943, and they included the Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear.  The four appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and then toured the country on exhibition, raising money for war bonds.  Roosevelt’s rousing speech was eventually included in the charter of the United Nations.

Marian Walsh was the first woman to serve in the Massachusetts House and the Massachusetts Senate.  She ran in nine consecutive races, one for the House and eight more for the Senate and she served a total of 22 years before retiring from public office in 2010.  Her book includes personal stories, insight, and advice that will help anyone who is thinking about running for public office.  That office could be anything – a spot on the board of library trustees or the board of selectmen, or a seat in the State or Federal legislature.

Included in the narrative (the narrative often alternates with practical advice, lists, and checklists), are testimonies of Walsh’s own personal struggles with the opinions of her district and her own opinion.  She discusses four serious and heart-wrenching issues, including her stand on Civil Marriage for gay and lesbian citizens of Massachusetts, abortion, the death penalty, and the Catholic clergy abuse scandal. She shares her personal struggle, her months of research, her challenges of faith, and the road to her own commitment. Marian describes how these demands taught her to become comfortable in uncomfortable discussions, even those when she knew she was at odds with her constituents.

Walsh’s journey is proof that getting elected takes a family, nearly an army of volunteers – friends, family and supporters to walk beside on the campaign road.  She provides much practical advice (bring water, store a change of shirts in your car, knock on each and every door you find, keep a smile on your face, and hand write thank you notes every day.)

Possibly the most important advice of all is that you must be present.  Nothing should distract you from your personal connection.  Put the cell phone away, put the coffee or tea down, and tuck any notes you receive into your pockets for reading later.  Every voter deserves your attention, your smile, and your honesty and conviction.

Marian Walsh will be speaking at the Morrill Memorial Library on March 10 at 7:00 in the evening.  I encourage you to attend.  Please call or visit the library to reserve a seat to hear her personal story.

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