While many of us were celebrating the Fourth of July this past weekend, there was a quiet few celebrating Canada Day (July 1). Amongst that quiet few was our own library director, Susan Preece, and I had the privilege of talking with her before she departed for the great white North (Any Bob and Doug McKenzie fans out there?).
Susan was born in Canada – Winnipeg, Manitoba to be specific. She moved to the United States at a young age, but once a Canadian, always a Canadian, eh. She still has family in Canada and she enjoyed some well deserved time away and vacationed with them on Amherst Island, on Lake Ontario for the Canada Day weekend.
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton was Susan’s first favorite book. She remembers reading it to her sister. Now she enjoys fiction over non-fiction, especially fantasy which she would choose over literary fiction. As much as she likes both of them, she would choose A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness over The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. She would rather read a Bronté than Jane Austen, and she is one of the few on our staff who you might find reading with an e-reader, but like the rest of the staff, Susan will tell you there is just not enough time to do all the reading she would like.
When I asked her what literary character she would be if she could, she did not hesitate and said, “Albus Dumbledore.” I also asked her what character would she like to meet. She thought a little before she said that she would like to meet Celia Bowen from The Night Circus. Celia intrigues Susan because she thought Celia was a victim of circumstance, but that Celia took life’s difficulties and challenges on with heart and soul.
Probably due to the Canadian blood that runs through her veins, Susan would rather watch a hockey game than a football game, and – hold on to your Patriots’ cap and jersey – if she does watch a football game, more than likely she’s cheering for the Giants! (She lived in New York for a number of years, so forgive her please!)
When it comes to who Susan would like to surround herself with at the dinner table, it’s all family and friends. Her guests would include grandparents (Cook and Bridges), Jane, who her children call Aunt Jane and is one of Susan’s best friends, Tullia, Mary Lou, a friend who died too young, and a brother-in-law who also was gone too soon. There is one person on her guest list that Susan doesn’t know, but would like to meet and that is Gordon Lightfoot, a fellow Canadian and musician.
And food! The entire staff loves food, but Susan is probably the biggest foodie of us all – especially when it comes to Italian food. She would choose lobster over steak, dessert instead of drinks, Chinese food before Mexican cuisine, and chocolate over vanilla.
I like Susan. I know you think I’m probably just saying that because she’s my boss, but I’m not. She’s funny, she’s caring, and she does a great job as Director of Topsham Public Library. She handles tough situations with calm and fortitude and grace. Canada is lucky to call her their own.