May 16, 2013.
Shamila and I marched into East Providence City Hall, offer package in her hands. Shamila was looking lovely and confident as always; I was about to vomit and or break into a sweat, and/or do both at the same time. We had already determined that it would be a good idea for her to do all the talking; I am entirely useless where my own personal transactions are involved. Once we tracked down the city planner, she placed my full price offer in his hands and briefly summarized its’ content. “So,” she concluded, “what are our next steps?”
The City Planner appeared a bit lost. “Well,” he began, “actually we have not established a procedure for this yet and are still working out the process.” Huh? “We will probably keep the bidding open for a few weeks and see what else comes in.” WHAT?
So that is how I essentially had to out-bid myself to get the property. From day one, every other interested buyer knew that there was a full price offer on the table. And yes, there were a lot of other crazy people like me who wanted to take on the project. But who doesn’t enjoy an overly emotional bidding war from time to time?
“We have to keep them all,” my 8-year-old self demanded.
My mother, slightly exasperated and attempting to get my bedroom packed up into boxes for moving day, sighed tiredly. “You have plenty of books. And you have already read these ones.” Adamant, I informed her: “When I grow up I am going to own a library with lots of books. So we have to keep them until then.”
My mother will tell anyone we know embarrassing stories of the youthful beginnings of my overconfident ambitions. We never could have guessed that I would get that particular proclamation right. (I can however concede that I am probably never going to be a Supreme Court Judge, a geneticist or an astronaut).
The Library plan was a long forgotten childhood memory until earlier this year. I was finally home after a particularly long day cooking dinner, and Shamila was interrupting my night with a crazy phone call about a vacant library in Rumford. “Trust me,” she said. “Just go drive by.”
I was tired, and at loss to connect why I should be concerned with a city library at that particular moment. We didn’t have a client looking for a library did we? No one came to mind. Shamila, however, is the most confident, intuitive and determined woman I have ever met. And she knows how to push my buttons. Five minutes after we hung up I was in the car taking the 20 minute drive over to Rumford.
I am delighted to announce the commencement of my Library Project; the restoration and conversion of the historic Rumford Library into my home. I am inviting all of you to share with me the disasters that are sure to ensue during the Project on my blog “rumfordlibraryproject.com”
My mom will be thrilled when I finally pick up all the dusty boxes of books from her attic.