The crush of the holidays is descending and as fast as I work, more work piles up. I’m behind on everything, including this blog.
Debi Echlin, the late, lamented owner of A Great Good Place For Books, made an amazingly generous gesture in her will: she left her store to one of her employees, Kathleen Caldwell.
Debi apparently found a like soul in Kathleen, who has been putting on author events and working at bookstores for more than 20 years. Debi and Kathleen met at a trade convention in October 2004 and within a few days Kathleen was working at a Great Good Place for Books. The two became close friends and compatriots, strategizing on which authors to showcase, what books to buy and what trinkets to display. Debi obviously realized that Kathleen loved books as much as she did.
Kathleen calls Debi her mentor, and she wrote a lovely article for The Montclarion on the impact of Debi’s death.
The good news is that Kathleen is every bit as knowledgeable -- and opinionated – as Debi about books. She doesn’t have any plans to change the store.
“We’re going to go on with the vision that Debi had of the store,” said Kathleen. “We’re going to try and make it as warm and friendly as it always has been. Debi loved the store; it was her baby. She made everyone else love it too. She made everyone feel like they were a part of her family. She was one of he warmest people you would ever meet.”
Debi has been dead three weeks now. I still can’t believe it. But it’s reassuring to know that a little bit of her remains in the store and community she created.