I have been trying to write this column for four weeks. If I were doing it on paper, the whole National Forest would be gone into the recycling bins. One set of thoughts read like some minor philosophical diatribe, another like a soap opera where everyone is maudlin and in a haze. The last one made me angry when I read it. So let’s try again, this time in a rational manner.
Why is it so hard to say goodbye? Maybe because the word itself conjures up so many images in my mind — the fluttering white handkerchiefs as the train pulls away, the lingering embrace, the touching fingers, the gentle touch, the tears and even the quietly closing door. Nope; not the right images. Then come the ones of the doors slamming, yelling, cars racing away, crying children wringing hands and more. No way; not right.
So what is the word to use when someone is leaving? After all, it isn’t as if I am falling off the end of the world. As the town manager likes to point out, I am only over the river, and that is not far. All I am doing is ending a wonderful 17-year visit to a town that I have grown to know and love. The town is not moving — I am — and that is what makes writing this hard.
Let’s face it, I never expected to write a column for 17 years. I thought it would just be a sort of “what’s happening at the library and here are some books,” but it grew. I guess it became my way of trying to let you know who I really was. After all, I am one face, you are many, and I knew I would never get to know all of you. I wanted you to realize that this was your library, not mine, and that I would do the best I could to get all you deserved.
You let me know in many ways that you appreciated this, and by so doing you gave me the support to fight for what you wanted. I am proud and humble that you allowed me to be the custodial caretaker for so long. I leave knowing that I did the very best I could to fulfill the expressed desires of the board of trustees that hired me who said: “We don’t care really what you do, just do something.”
Seventeen years seems like ages, yet never have years flown so fast. You never left me bored. However, like all good things, there is an end. I realized that it is time to let someone else continue the work to bring you to the next step.
There are still many things to be done, but I know I will be leaving you with the best library staff anywhere. They care, they listen and they will work to ensure that you are pleased. Your new director, Dana Mastroianni, was carefully chosen by the board of trustees to continue in a path right for Dracut. This is a unique library. It is family-orientated, a community place and to quote someone: “It is like coming home when I come in.” We want it to stay that way.
To all of you, thanks, good luck and may your life be filled with friendships, health, love and memories.
And remember, keep reading.
Susan Schwarz, who has been the director of the Moses Greeley Parker Library for 17 years, retired on Sept. 28.