Sunday, August 21, 2005

Dr. Seuss-The Last Autograph?

Dr. Seuss didn't like autographings. It's been said that he wasn't even that fond of children, his biggest audience. That said, in 1986, when I was working at a bookstore (from which the Library greatly benefitted as you might imagine), I had every customer who came in for a week fill in a flyer I had made up in which they wrote a few words about their favorite Seuss book and how it influenced their lives. We dutifully sent off the thick package that resulted to Random House to be forwarded to Mr. Geisel in time for his March 2nd birthday. At right is the reply we received a few weeks later. Note the part that says they're "...sure he would be honored to know..." Hmmm. Sounded to us like they had no intention of bothering him with our package at all.
Still it was sad to read a few years later that the author of such immortal characters as the Grinch, the Cat and Sam (I Am) was in the hospital after a long illness and not expected to do well. Working at a different bookstore by that point, I determined to let him know how much we cared so we tried it again. This time, we had one of those giant get well cards and everyone who came in for a week signed it and wrote their favorire Seuss title underneath. Then, I called Maggie Thompson (no relation) at the COMICS BUYERS GUIDE where I had seen the initial reports and asked her if she could get me the name of the hospital and his room number. She came through and we sent it off. Again, a short while later we received the little note to the right. It wasn't all that long after that, however, that his death made the papers so I guess my last memory of Dr. Seuss is that he lied to me. He wasn't getting better after all. Sigh.

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