Books, Chocolate, and History

I went to Hershey, Pennsylvania, this week to receive the Keystone State Reading Association’s Young Adult Book Award for The Ghost’s Grave. It is always rewarding to spend time with a group of reading teachers and librarians because they are my partners in the cause of literacy. I write the books; they put them in the hands of kids who read them. It was a lovely award luncheon and I now have friends in Pennsylvania.

My son-in-law and grandson, Kevin and Eric, went with me. While I was at the KSRA conference, they spent the day in Gettysburg. They are both students of military history, and were thrilled to stand at the spot where Lincoln gave his Gettysburg address.

The next day the three of us visited Hershey Chocolate World (yum!) and took a tour to learn the history of Mr. Hershey. He was a remarkable man who had persistence, business acumen, and compassion. We also visited the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg.

The only travel glitch was in Cincinnati. When we changed planes to fly to Harrisburg, PA, my bag was left uncovered in the rain. It sat there long enough for the rain to soak completely through the bag itself and into the contents. My clothes were all wet, including what I planned to wear at the award luncheon. My nightgown was so soaked I couldn’t wear it. Posters that I had taken to give away were wet, but I spread them around my room and they dried overnight. Luckily, the “Visit With Peg Kehret” DVDs that I took as gifts were in plastic covers.

I arrived home to piles of mail, a packed Inbox of e-mail, phone messages, and excited animals. Lucy has been a “Velcro dog” since my return, Molly claims my lap at every opportunity, Edgar (my foster cat) yowls for attention, and even Mr. Stray looked in the window to welcome me home.

This was my last out-of-state trip for awhile. I like to meet new people and to see and learn about new places. Awards that kids vote on are dear to my heart and I feel honored to hang the beautiful KSRA plaque on my wall. Still, I agree with Dorothy: there’s no place like home.