This is like Where's Waldo, except it's Where's the Old Lady?
After a morning of talking and answering lots of questions, the middle school staff and volunteers had a reception for me—Southern Hospitality at its finest.
This beautiful spread was prepared by a school volunteer, the grandmother of one of the girls.
Isn't this lovely? And I can't remember the last time I went to anything and there was a punch bowl. I got seriously excited when I saw that punch bowl!
After we had a chance to snack, the girls who attended the reception had lots of questions. Toward the end one girl said, "So what happened to Rosie and all those other characters?" Rosie, short for Rosemary, is the protagonist in Artichoke's Heart. I paused and glanced around at all these sweet, young faces. Instead of answering, I said, "What do y'all think happened to her?" I kid you not, nearly every hand in the room shot up. Honestly, it choked me up a little. To think that I had created characters that these girls cared about was slightly overwhelming, a dream come true, actually. I realized something, too. Once you put a book, even if it's your book, out into the world, it belongs to all those who read it.
To make the trip even more wonderful, one of the teachers donated the use of her beach house. It was such a pretty place. And I got to take one of my oldest and dearest besties so I had company while staying here. Two days of non-stop catching up!
On our last night in town, the guidance counselor who put this whole fabulous visit together came out to dinner with bestie and me.
I kept threatening to stay in Charleston forever, but I did finally return home with lots of happy memories and a renewed spirit.