Author Meets Subject’s Scrapbook. Also: SNOW!

April 25, 2011

We woke to snow in Cooperstown. Not the accumulation kind of snow; just the wow, doesn’t late April mean anything kind of snow.

Before setting out to the Hall of Fame, I told my family not to feel bad for me if they were the only ones in attendance at my talk. They promised.

It was a comedy of errors once we arrived, leaving our coats in the car, running for the closest entrance, realizing it was the wrong entrance, running from door to door in the aforementioned snow, until we found our way inside. But we did. And we weren’t late.

My husband, son and daughter were not the only ones in attendance; the seats were all filled. People listened. I talked too fast, forgot to say some important things, and didn’t remember to ask for questions, but somehow I still think it went pretty well. Or well enough. Wellish.

The coolest part was that Stephen Light (who holds the enviable title Manager of Museum Programs at the National Baseball Hall of Fame) had Effa Manley’s actual scrapbook there in the room with us.

I’m only a mild research geek, not the worst kind of research geek, but wow, did I love seeing that. When I had viewed the scrapbook for my research in the Hall’s A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center, I had looked at a microfiche copy on one of those crazy old machines. This was the real deal. With Effa’s scrawled notes all over the place. I especially liked that after a long, positive story about herself in a New York newspaper, Effa wrote, “This is a good story.” (!) More often she passed along the praise to her husband, Abe.

I loved paging through that scrapbook. (And I didn’t once try to hatch a Lucy-Ricardo-like plan to sneak it out. A true sign of maturity.)

She Loved baseball display at Hall of FameI signed a good number of copies of SHE LOVED BASEBALL, with a bigger smile each time I signed one for a Yankees fan. There was one Mets fan–an eight-year-old–who is the only girl playing baseball in her town’s all-male little league. I smiled quite a bit when signing hers, too.

Perhaps most exciting of all was talking about the possibility of a return appearance next spring. That trip would be in support of my next baseball picture book, BROTHERS AT BAT: THE TRUE STORY OF AN AMAZING ALL-BROTHER TEAM, illustrated by Steven Salerno. There was talk of taking over Doubleday Field for a game….I’m just saying.

Stay tuned.


The Road Back

April 19, 2011

When I first set out for Cooperstown in 2006 to research the book that would become She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story, it seemed like a fun adventure. A mother of two relatively young children, I didn’t have a lot of time to myself, so setting out in a smelly rental car for a long road trip seemed kind of like the high life.

Five years later, I’m going back. (Okay, I’ve been back in the interim too, but that doesn’t serve this story.)

I remember stopping into the Hall of Fame bookstore my first time there, looking at all the wonderful books, and hoping that my notes would make that unlikely journey from disjointed mess to a manuscript deemed worthy of acquisition. And further hoping that some day I might be honored enough to be invited to sign my book in the Hall of Fame bookstore.

I’ve been to enough book signings to know they’re not the magical events we all imagine them to be before we published.

But it’s different at the Hall of Fame.

After I give a short speech on Effa Manley and her scrapbook on Thursday, I’ll be heading up to the bookstore to sign my book. I’ll be sitting there, surrounded by great baseball books. It’s almost like a shot of baseball directly into the bloodstream, a direct absorption of history and tradition.

It’s a long ride, and this time I’m bringing my family with me. It’s not my favorite drive, the New Jersey-Cooperstown route, but I suspect I’m going to be grinning the whole way. And maybe I’ll let someone else do the driving.

Stay tuned.


Author in the House

February 6, 2011

Event Details: Effa Manley and her Scrapbook
Authors Series
Thu, 21 Apr, 2011 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Noted children’s author Audrey Vernick, visits the Hall of Fame to present a special program for families on Effa Manley, the first woman inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Using Manley’s personal scrapbook (a copy of which resides in the Hall of Fame’s archive) as an example, Vernick will help families create a memento of their visit to Cooperstown. The program will be followed by a book signing, with Vernick signing copies of her book, She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story.  This program is included with the cost of admission.

Location:Learning Center, First Floor

http://community.baseballhall.org/page.aspx?pid=544&cid=1&ceid=343&cerid=0&cdt=4%2F21%2F2011


Road Trip!

January 28, 2011

When I was in Cooperstown in 2006, conducting research for the book that became SHE LOVED BASEBALL: THE EFFA MANLEY STORY, I hatched a plan.

It was my first time at the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite a long history of baseball fandom. Despite a family that shared my interest.

The plan: I would only write books that required research trips to Cooperstown. It was brilliant! I love writing baseball books! I loved being in Cooperstown, where you can’t find a place for lunch that doesn’t have ridiculous baseball names for every sandwich on the menu.

Ultimately, the plan didn’t work out so well because the Hall adapted to the changes in the world. Instead of researchers flocking to the A. Bartlett Giamatti Research Center, the Research Center started sending copies of resources, for a reasonable charge, to interested researchers. An awesome service to be sure, but it did absolutely nothing for my plan.

But now, at last, I have finally found my way back.

ROAD TRIP!

I’ve been invited to present a talk and sign copies of SHE LOVED BASEBALL at the Hall of Fame during Youth Baseball Week. Specifically, I’ll be there on Thursday, April 21. Lest you balk at the weekday factor, keep in mind that is spring break for most kids ’round these parts.

I’m inviting everyone I know to join me. Also invited: those of you I don’t yet know.

Hope to see you there.