Six times. He has tried six times, but this time Larry Fitch is determined to get through James Joyce’s Ulysses. Intrigued by all the layers and interwoven threads that Joyce melds into the story, Larry is resolute in his pursuit to finish this story by one of Ireland’s greatest writers.
Books and libraries have always been a part of Larry’s life. He remembers getting his Boston Public Library card (Allston Branch) when he was a child, and in high school, he utilized the library to do his homework every night. But one of Larry’s proudest achievements was when he, as a workforce innovator, in conjunction with Bonita-Sunnyside Branch of the San Diego County Library, developed a career center in the library. They have designated space, computers, and resources for the career center. They offer workshops and Larry did labor market analysis to connect people with companies in need. After he retired, they decided to move to Maine, and Larry became involved in Topsham Public Library and is now serving on the Board of Trustees, and this year he is President of the Board.
Larry is a great advocate for libraries and the services they provide. He considers libraries to be “a great equalizer”; regardless of economic background, race, gender identification or education level, libraries treat everyone as equals. Libraries are an important tool that signifies quality of life, according to Larry, and they are places where you not only get to attend lectures and programs and enjoy gardens, but they are places where you can be serene and thoughtful and where you gain understanding about your self, your community, and your world.
Though he can’t pinpoint a first favorite book from childhood, Larry recalls many that he enjoyed: Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes, Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne (which he also read in Latin), The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien. Now, Larry enjoys historical fiction because the reader is given the historical context without the dryness of non-fiction. Science fiction is another favorite genre of his, and Isaac Asimov is one of his favorite sci-fi writers.
If Larry could invite anyone to dinner, historical figures included, he would like to spend time with Albert Einstein, not just for his brilliance, but because of his good sense of humor; John F. Kennedy because he inspired Larry’s generation to do good and because of their Boston connection; Ray Bradbury because of his imagination; Anita Diamant, with whom he attended a Boston Red Sox game and is another Boston child; Margaret Chase Smith not only because of her important role in the women’s movement, but she was also a politician that could engage in true dialogue with those who saw things differently than she did; Carl Sagan because he made science fun and available to the masses; Kurt Vonnegut because Larry thinks Slaughterhouse 5, is one of the best books of all time; and Sigmund Freud so he could psychoanalyze everyone.
Photography is another love of Larry’s. He is a member of First Light Camera Club and enjoys the variety of outings they go on. As well as serving as President of the Board of Trustees for Topsham Public Library, he is also on the Topsham Development, Inc board. He endeavors to serve Topsham and help shape Topsham into the community it wants to be.
Larry is excited and honored to fulfill his duties, and he has a real heart for our shared community. When you see him, be sure to say hi.