As soon as I turned 16 and was eligible to work, I got a job at the public library. What better place for an enthusiastic reader and budding writer to work? I loved being around books, shelving them, feeling their weight in my hands, and smelling them, especially the old and more musty editions. I dreamed someday I might write a book, too, and that someone would go looking for it in the stacks and pull it off the shelves.
I worked at the library many weekdays, after school, and I would walk home from the library via downtown, always taking the same route: down Xenia Avenue, turning left just before Ye Olde Trail Tavern, cutting through King’s Yard, and taking the alley to home. Every day that I took that route, I passed the little bookstore on Xenia—I’m pretty sure it was Epic Books at that time though later it would become Sam & Eddie’s Open Books.
There was a man—I did not know his name then—who was always sitting at the bookstore checkout desk, and often the door must have been propped open because I remember that as I passed by on my way home, I would see him and wave to him, and he would smile and wave back. He was a fixture in my journey home, and there was something safe and steady knowing he would be there.
My journey has been filled with safe and steady things, and for all of those, I am grateful.
It seems fitting then that when I found out my book was being published, the first store I contacted in hopes that they might carry it was Sam & Eddie’s. You see, the man sitting at the desk, the one who always waved to me on my journey home, was Eddie Eckenrode, though it would be years after I left my wonderful library job before I knew his name. I was there when he celebrated his marriage to Sam, and I was thrilled when he and Sam opened Sam & Eddie’s.
Eddie has since passed away, but Sam has carried on with a gem of a bookstore that offers not only books, cards and gifts but heart.
Seeing my book in there means more to me than it would sitting in a big box bookstore. My book feels like it’s exactly where it belongs.