A Treasure, Lost

I had another entry ready to go, but just as I was about to post it, heard that the fabulous storyteller and writer, Coleen Salley had died. I knew she was sick, but in denial, prayed I’d see her again.
If you were fortunate enough to have known, or even just met her, you know that trying to imagine a world without Coleen (pronounce Co, as in co-author) is nearly impossible. I know it’s a cliche, but she was larger than life.
The first time I met her was at an ALA conference. I stood there, in shock, because there in front of me was the living, breathing personification of the character in To Market, To Market, my kids’ favorite book at the time, by Anne Miranda and Janet Stevens, complete with hat! I hadn’t known there had been a real person “modeling” for the book, but as soon as I saw Coleen, I knew Janet Stevens was a genius. Coleen was perfect for the role (no offense to Janet, but it just occurred to me that perhaps Coleen told the story as part of her repertoire. I’d love to know the answer to that one).
I introduced myself, and Coleen did what she probably did with everyone she met. She made me feel like I was her best friend, and the only person in the room with her. She’d always holler, “Why, hello, DAHLIN’!!!!!!” Frankly, I often wondered whether she actually remembered me, but sure enough, every time we met, she would invite me to stay in the converted stable she called home in New Orleans.
I will always regret that I never had the chance to take her up on her kind offer.

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