Chapter 15

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 With a grunt of frustration, Alex closed the book he was reading and dropped it onto the table. Except for the families who had opened ski resorts and outlet malls, he was having a hard time finding anyone with enough printed about them to fill ten pages worth of material. Sure, a few guys painted Mount Washington, but come on, that’s good for what, two, two and a half pages? And one achievement from one person does not make a family history.

 Maybe Ludolf was right, he was going to have to look elsewhere if he wanted something better, but where? Alex picked up the few notes he could gather and put the books back on their shelves on the way to the front desk.

 The librarian on duty was an older woman, short and slightly hunched over. She was probably the oldest person in the library and yet had more energy than most of the small children that swarmed into the kiddie section on storybook days. As Alex watched her going from person to person, he considered giving up for the day and coming back when it wasn’t quite so busy. He couldn’t help but feel a bit of that selfish irritation everyone gets when they think people aren’t paying attention to their needs fast enough, but at the same time she was the only one working and she still had a look about her like there was nowhere else she wanted to be at that moment.

Just as Alex was ready to give up trying to get her attention and going home for the day she waved at him and mouthed that she would be right there. Alex put his backpack down and waited until the last person had checked out leaving him alone at the desk. She walked over to him and greeted Alex with a cheery smile, making him feel a little guilty about feeling irritated at his wait.

“What can I do for you deah,” she asked in a thick New England accent.

Alex couldn’t help but smile as he held up the few pages of notes he was able to gather in the last few days. “You don’t happen to know if there are any more books on local town history, specifically families that lived in town. I have a pretty big report coming up and I don’t think I have enough to go on.” Alex handed her the sheet of paper on which he had listed all the books and family names he had managed to find so far. The list was short. She typed a few sentences into her computer and shook her head.

“I think that’s all we have for books like that deah. Small town you know. You may try the old papahs. I think we have some in the computah, but it’s too busy for me to go looking through them today.” She said with an apologetic look before checking a schedule next to her computer. “If you come back tomorrow, I may have more time to look. I’m here by myself today and my minds not as sharp as it used to be.” She looked up at him thoughtfully, “what about the other towns around? Do you need to stick with just Conway, or can you use those too?”

Alex hadn’t thought of that and felt a small ray of hope; maybe he could pull this off after all, “I don’t think so, as long as it can be considered local, I think it could work.”

  The small woman brightened up and looked at him with a smile, “I think I may have something that would be interest’n to ya, remind me when you come back and I’ll print off a few of the old papahs. If I remembah right, there are a few stories you could try to start with. I’m afraid you’ll have to try to find some actual people that’ll tell you more though. Not much written in the old papahs about them, but I know some people will remembah. Lots of old families still livin’ here you know; and you know how us old folks like to tell stories.”

By now the line had built up, she gave a quick glance and nod to the first person waiting and held up her finger to tell him she’d be there in one minute, then looked at Alex and shrugged, still smiling. “I have to get back to work deah, but come back and I’ll help ya get stahted. My name’s Peggy, just ask for me. I’ll be workin’ downstairs tomorrow.” She reached up and patted Alex on the cheek, “You remind me of my grandson,” she said. Then, with her usual cheer she turned and walked back to the small line that had formed at the checkout.

The Last of the Twenty: The Setting of the BoardWhere stories live. Discover now