Saying goodbye is hard to do, especially when it is goodbye to something or someone you love. My 30 years as director of Huntington Memorial Library have been a joy, and the best job anyone could ever hope to have. Last Thursday, the Library Board of Trustees held a farewell reception in my honor, and it was one of the most memorable moments in my life.
The board didn’t stop with the reception, but went one step further. They presented me with a plaque that renames the children’s room in my honor. I was so surprised that I burst into tears, and of course, many photographers caught that teary moment.
As many of you know, children are my first love and connecting them with books has been at the heart of my career. To know that the children’s room has been renamed in my honor is recognition beyond anything I ever believed would happen. Please make sure you stop at the library to see the plaque, located above the fireplace in the children’s room.
As I was thinking about farewells, I wondered how other people and authors had addressed this. Here are some quotes for you to enjoy:
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” — Thomas Meeha.
“Man’s feelings are always purest and many glowing in the hour of meeting and of farewell.” — Jean Paul Richter.
“Saying goodbye doesn’t mean anything. It’s the time we spent together that matters, not how we left it.” — Trey Parker.
“Don’t be dismayed by good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.” — Richard Bach.
“Never part without loving words to think of during your absence. It may be that you will not meet again in this life.” — Jean Paul Richter.
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.” — Gilda Radner.
“Good bye may seem forever. Farewell is like the end, but in my heart is the memory and there you will always be.” — Walt Disney.
“But, reader, there is no comfort in the word ‘farewell,’ even if you say it in French. ‘Farewell’ is a word that, in any language, is full of sorrow. It is a word that promises absolutely nothing.” — Kate DiCamillo, “The Tale of Despereaux.”
“Remember me and smile, for it’s better to forget than to remember me and cry.” and “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” — Dr. Seuss
“But the wild things cried, ‘Oh please don’t go — we’ll eat you up — we love you so!’ And Max said, ‘No!’ The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.” — Maurice Sendak.
And to all of you, I add my own farewell: “Until we meet again, I wish you happiness and countless hours of contented reading.”
Library Hours: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.
Marie Bruni is director of Huntington Memorial Library in Oneonta. Library corner appears in the community section of The Daily Star every Thursday. Her columns can be found online at www.thedailystar.com/librarycorner.