All of my events in Worcester, MA are among the most memorable for me. It's where I grew up, so I have lots of family members and old friends in attendance. It's like a homecoming of sorts. Well this year's event was especially stellar—it was standing room only and the books sold out before the program even began. Among the many attendees were Jeanne and Betty, my old lunch ladies from Gates Lane School. I last saw them in 2001 when a chance encounter with Jeanne led met to think about the secret lives of lunch ladies and before that in 1991, when I graduated. Now, my school was K-8, so I had these lunch ladies for 9 years! Many people who I went to grade school with always comment how the classrooms in my books resemble the classrooms from Gates Lane. Some images are just burned into my visual subconscious. Looks like Jeanne and Betty may have had the same effect on how I draw lunch ladies!
My former lunch ladies were thrilled by all of the hoopla of the event and I honored them with original art and books for all of their years of service in the lunch room. (30 for Jeanne, 40 for Betty!) They told me their years at Gates Lane were the best years of their lives.
AND . . . they even signed books themselves. They each had lines of fans seeking autographs.
If you live in the Worcester area, I will be returning to sign pre-ordered books at the Barnes and Noble in Milbury, I am sure they would be happy to add you to the list of names taken from the Worcester event.