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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

"I believe the Latin is monumentus serendipitus"

I received the most wonderful note from Carter Hasegawa via Goodreads the other day.  It was so pleasant that I felt inclined to post it on this blog.  He obliged me with his permission.  Check out this post, particularly if you’ve any interest in Ursula Nordstrom or Mary Stoltz.

Lately while taking the T to work (Harvard Book Store), I’ve been reading "Dear Genius." The last letter I read before I got to my stop was a letter UN wrote to Mary Stoltz whose nephew, Emmett, so badly wanted a pig.

"The zoning laws made that impossible in St. Louis, his parents arranged to have him own a pig which lived in Tennessee. He has pictures of his pig. He receives letters from the farmer about his pig, He puts aside part of his allowance to provide mash for the pig. And he is saving money and making plans to go to Tennessee on his vacation and see his pig."

This is of course one of the first early readers, "Emmett’s Pig."

Yesterday at work, while helping a gentleman special order some books we didn’t carry, I noticed he was holding a copy of Sendak’s "In the Night Kitchen." I mentioned to him the letters I had been reading specifically about Sendak and how fascinating they were.

The customer asked, "is that about that woman who was editor at Harper for all those years?" I told him that it was.

He said, "I think she was my aunt’s editor."

"Oh, who’s your aunt?" I asked.

"Mary Stoltz. She once wrote a book about me. My name’s Emmett."

Can you believe it? Of all the people working in the store that day, Emmett of Emmett’s Pig came to me for help only moments after I read about him. Crazy.

After I realized who he was, I went up to our break room and I got my copy of "Dear Genius" to show him. I pointed out the passage that referred to "his" book and left it with him to go through. You should’ve seen the grin on his face when he brought the book back to me. He also showed me a picture of his aunt that was in the book and mentioned wistfully that he hadn’t seen the picture in years.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Brenda Ferber says:

    What a great letter! I love when the universe conspires to bring people together that way!

  2. Wowww. That is wonderful!

    In my head Mary Stoltz is someone who sheparded me from child to teenager. My mom read us Lands End and A Dog on Barkham Street, and later I pored over What Time of Night Is It? and Who Wants Music on Mondays?, and In a Mirror for hints on what college might be like. I miss Mary Stoltz!

  3. Jenny Schwartzberg says:

    Thank you for sharing this great story!