Meredith Carlin First drew many people to the Ice Burgie last Saturday for the signing of her hardback book “Gridley Girls.” She was joined by Brooke and Kim Letterman, Ice Burgie owner Jayne Barrow and Ricki Donnahoe for this picture.
Last Saturday was a day for honoring and for catching up on many memories of a time when life was very different. The Gridley Ice Burgie is a location for many to run into old friends and acquaintances as they stand in line to get their meals. On Saturday a lot more people visited the Ice Burgie to purchase an autographed copy of "Gridley Girls" from author Meredith Carlin First. It was a very enjoyable time for those waiting in line as they visited with people they hadn't seen in hears spanning at least 60 years of graduates from one class or another. There were men and women coming to catch up with First and to hear about her plans for her second book as they purchased a copy of the first one with ten percent of the proceeds going to St. Jude's Children's Research. Of course the energy is high wherever the Carlin girls land and with sister Melissa helping out it was truly a great time for them as people came from far and wide to purchase not one copy, but many times three as gifts. Once this event was over, it was time to head to the Gridley Library as retired Head Librarian Doris Long was honored with the Fourth Annual Donald Wiley Library Services Award. Jerry and Marilyn Long accepted the award on Long's' behalf from Doris Pettersen who told the story of Gridley's Head Librarian for 25 years. Growing up in Klamath Falls, Oregon, Long had a degree in Home Economics and taught two years in Bakersfield before meeting her future husband Wayne. They had seven children and Long did not come to the Gridley Library to work until she was 50 years old and the children had been raised. Long helped design the current library site and was involved in the move of all the many books. She served two terms on the Gridley City Council and was the Mayor of Gridley during this time. Friends of the Library member Jean Curcuru introduced First for her second book signing of the day. First spent her time at Gridley High School as a cheerleader, was in the Pep Club and Modern Dance. She worked at Spruce Drug after school and weekends and was a Peer Counselor. Her memories throughout "Gridley Girls," are a great read and puts the reader back to their own high school memories and in the case of many at both book signings, their memories at Gridley High. First's father Larry was in the audience and she had tears for her mother Joan who died in 2001 at the age of 64 and would have enjoyed this day so much. She would have absolutely loved to be a part of the excitement of "Gridley Girls." She would be so proud to see her youngest with the success she is already seeing as she professed her daughter would be the "next Judy Blume." Joan Carlin was very enthusiastic whether it was in the classroom, visiting with friends or spending time with her family. The book tells the story of growing up in Gridley and one of First's best friends, Jennifer Cone, who sadly died at the age of nine. Cone's mother, Suzanne, asked First to never forget Jennifer after her funeral and she has not. She and classmates once again visited the Gridley-Biggs Cemetery before the first book signing as Sunday, Father's Day was the 39th anniversary of her death, which also happened to be Father's Day that year. ... For the rest of the story, please pick up a copy of the June 21, 2013 issue of the Gridley Herald!