Traverse City Record-Eagle

Northern Living

March 16, 2014

Lifelines: Destiny found in library

I’m slightly dyslexic and can’t read out loud very well. Still, I fell in love with books at an early age.

Marion Public Schools had a library, but it didn’t compare with visiting the dead pioneer lady’s house. Mrs. Alice Chapin had dedicated her home to the village to be used as a public library after her passing.

From fourth grade on you could get a permission slip during lunch hour to walk to 217 Pickard St., to check out a book. With a buddy I visited there every week. I still remember entering through the jingling door into the late Mrs. Chapin’s dining room, kitchen, utility and living rooms full of shelves packed with books.

I loved the smell of the books, the feel and sound of books when you opened the hardbound cloth covers into the crisp pages. The house felt like church, only more relaxed.

In seventh grade I started taking girls to the library, and continued the cheapskate practice in college. On the first date with my wife, I took her to the old Traverse City Public Library on Sixth Street. I read her some William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound. Then we went dancing. This weekend is our 40th anniversary of that date.

March is reading month, and tonight is a full moon. Here’s a poem I wrote in the words of Richard Walker, 82, of Kalkaska to celebrate. It has some great moonlight in it.

Poet Bard Terry Wooten has been performing and conducting writing workshops in schools for 29 years. He is also the creator of Stone Circle, a triple ring of boulders featuring poetry, storytelling and music on his property north of Elk Rapids. Learn more at

The Turning Point

I went to school after The Great Depression.

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