More about Jane...
My first and only field trip in grade school was Hosmer Library, where each first grader solemnly printed his or her name on a library card. I had books at home, but the library was a holy building, guarded by two granite lions. The children’s room was the sanctuary.
Two years later, an optometrist dilated my pupils as part of an eye exam. I was forbidden to read for the rest of the day. But I couldn’t wait that long to finish my library book, The Boxcar Children. So I read in secret, ever conscious of my parents’ whereabouts.
During the summers before my friend Anne and I could ride bikes, we pulled a Radio Flyer to the library and loaded up. When we mastered two-wheelers, we piled books in the wire baskets mounted on the handlebars. Our destination: her porch or mine. And we read.
Writing was an outgrowth of reading. I wrote stories in my head while on the backyard swing. To amuse ourselves, Anne and I wrote tales that featured our classmates. As seventh graders, we were chosen to write the rhyming prophesies for the eighth-grade graduates—all 145 of them.
At my eighth-grade graduation, I was awarded second place in the diocesan writing competition on the topic, “What I Will Do with My Religious Vocation.” My classmate Martin Ferris took first place; I believe he became a priest.
Ultimately I discovered that I wanted to write about nuns rather than be one. I’ve also written about a squirrel, a chain-smoking and indifferent mother, baseball great Jimmy Piersall, a vampire cat and more.
Through reading and writing, I’ve inhabited many worlds and imagined many lives. I never knew that a library card would take me so far.