Thank you. I read every message of love and support that you sent, honoring Jim. Over 900 people stopped by yesterday to read about Jim, and his life with books. That doesn't even include the people who commented on Facebook, or sent emails directly. To me, it proves the importance of friendship, and the ability of the Internet to link us.
Jim spent a great deal of time online, not only emailing friends, but playing games such as Ogames. But, he was an active participant in sports sites, such as RootZoo and FanIQ. His love of trivia and sports, his willingness to joke and poke fun at people, including himself, and his love of a good political discussion, all came through on those sites, and so many friends have acknowledged that. Jim found friends from Berlin Heights, from over forty years ago, and they formed a community to remember their youth, and their hometown. But, they also laughed and shared life. Jim was always good at remembering the past, while acknowledging birthdays, and anniversaries, and just dropping a note when anyone needed one.
I heard from his friends. And, I heard from my friends, my coworkers from three different libraries and states. I heard from family, even when it was most difficult (thank you, Linda). There were beautiful notes from people I hadn't heard from in over twenty-five years, and it's so wonderful to make that connection again. And, I heard from authors, and librarians, and people I have met online or in person in the book community, people who are always generous in their expressions of kindness.
Thank you to everyone. Your messages made me laugh, and cry. I've read every one of them, and I'm sure I'll go back and reread them, and treasure them for your kindness. And, thank you for your generosity in giving to your public libraries, or my library, in memory of Jim.
Jim was a very humble man, who really didn't think he had made a difference in life. Those caring people who reached out, people I never knew, show how many people can be touched by one person. He had a whole separate life, apart from me, at Starbucks, as so many people know. Jim spent three hours there, every afternoon, reading his books, and making friends. Yesterday, I stood there and cried with one of their managers. I don't know what his friends there will do, but she wants to honor him with something for children and books. Even there, Jim was known as "Our Jim, the reader." It's amazing how sitting for three hours, with a book, will create friends.
So, thank you. Thank you for your gifts of friendship, for Jim, and for me.