Today we start off in the birthplace of John Mellencamp — the town of Seymour, where the sidewalk is decorated with a plaque in his honor.
Becky Brewer, head of Information Services at Jackson County Public Library, meets us at the local American Legion Hall, where I’ll be speaking at the noon event.
Boxed lunches are waiting for us, and so is an enthusiastic crowd, many of whom have to hurry back to work. But after I speak, they wait in line to get books signed, and a few even tell me they’ll be seeing me again at the evening event!
A quick drive takes us to Columbus, where we check into the B&B that Bartholomew County Public Library has booked for us — the magnificent Irwin Gardens Inn, a place so beautiful it’s worth returning to this town just to stay here again!
With a few hours before the event, we explore the town, eat ice cream at the famous Zaharakos Ice Cream Parlor and Museum (best strawberry ice cream ever!) and stroll through Mill Race Park. At the visitor’s center, we learn that Columbus is considered one of the top six architectural destinations in the country, and everywhere there are public sculptures.
Library Associates Ann and Bud Herron and Diane Spofford treat us to dinner, where we talk about harrowing childbirth experiences in Sierra Leone and cupcake bars in NYC. You just never know what topic of conversation will come up when you talk with book people!
And then it’s off to the library — yet another architectural gem, designed by I.M. Pei. Here I meet the woman who launched this tour, the librarian who made it happen: Mary Clare Speckner. For months we’ve been emailing back and forth. She designed the itinerary, she contacted the libraries, she figured out the logistics. If not for Mary Clare, I wouldn’t be here!
A nice crowd turned out to hear me talk about The Bone Garden, which was their Community Book Read. For many of them, it was the first book of mine they’d ever read. And bookseller Terry Whittaker was on site to sell them more.
Starting to feel a little sad that the tour is soon coming to a close…