(Go to the bottom of this entry to see the photos of the party.)
Well, that was a celebration and a half! I arrived early at the bookstore, carrying the punch, our camera, and a handful of pens while Peter helped our friends who were catering bring in tray after tray of covered food. I was having that before-a-party feeling where you wonder if anyone is going to show up.
Art, Barbara, Dante and Monicaâ€”the bookstore owners and crew–ushered me to the counter where a pot full of yellow blooming chrysanthemums sat beside a vase of beautiful roses, larkspur, and irises. I opened the cards.
One was from my sister in Seattle. The other was signed “Congratulations and blessings â€“Tino.”
None of the people in the book live near me. So when the decision was made to have the launch here, in my home town, I was sorry that they wouldn’t be able to come. But Tino–whose chapter is the seventh in the book–had found a way to be here in spirit. And so had my sis who has been through so much with me. I was overwhelmed. There really is such a thing as tears of joy.
Then the door opened and people started pouring in. There were people from every circle of my life in my hometown. My girlfriends who prepared the food under Tamra’s supervision. Old friends from the ball team and new friends from my woman’s group. My son and his friends. Teens who helped me on the book. Friends who had supported me through my own healing and those who encouraged me as I wrote Strong at the Heart.
There were people I’d never met before. Men and women who’d heard me on the radio or read about Strong in the newspapers. Parents of abused kids. (Isn’t it wonderful that some kids have parents who’d seek out this book for them?) Men and women who identified themselves to me as survivors or teachers or therapists and others who just said, “I want to thank you for writing this book.”
What an amazing night. The place rocked. Word must have gotten out on the street that the best food to be had downtown was at the bookstore because all those trays of Celebrations delicacies were consumed.
People were still coming by when we had to close up for the night.
A shout out to Melanie Kroupa, Sabeth Ryan Albert, Jeanne McDermott, Jay Colvin and Robbin Gourleyâ€”all on the other coast–who did so much work on this book (FSG also helped foot the bill for the party) and missed all the fun!
I did promise photos. Peter and Rashida took these:
Laura was one of the teen advisers for Strong at the Heart.
Friends Rashida and Bonnie
A bookstore is a great place for a party.
The crowd listened when I spoke about Strong at the Heart reaching its audience.
Barbara, co-owner of Northtown Books, planned this event.