The Library Loses a Patron

0 Flares 0 Flares ×

A regular user of The Urbana Free Library died last
week. We weren’t surprised when the first notice
appeared in the paper – we knew she had been ill
and we had not heard from her recently, whereas
once she had been one of our most persistent callers.
Though I had spoken with her so many times, I knew
very little of her story and was thus anxious to see
the full obituary.
That came the next day. Just one sentence had
been added: There will be no services.
Our relationship with this woman was not all sunshine.
She was often querulous and impatient; she
frequently asked for telephone numbers and had an
aggravating habit of quickly losing the slips of paper
that she wrote them down on. I know I’m not the
only staff member whose heart sometimes sank upon
hearing her voice. Still, we actually like to serve her:
We’re happy to be at a resource for those who seem to
lack them. We knew she was often alone and as the
calls started coming from a hospital room as often as
from her home, we knew her health was deteriorating.
A note of fear crept into her voice. She always
said thank you and sometimes called me “dear.”
The last time I heard her voice it was close to Christmas
and she called to arrange pick-up of a gift she had
for our Homebound Services Coordinator. It was, she
assured me, a wonderful gift, a gift worth a special trip.
We’re very protective of our patrons here; their
right to privacy is paramount. But this woman’s story
has already been lost. Let us at least give her a name:
Bettina Chapman, 1937–2009
Rest in Peace

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.