A Doll of a Friend

If you looked “sweetheart” up in the dictionary, you’d find a two word definition: Edie Ching. 

Edie opened her heart (and, on several occasions, her home) to Neil and I from the first moment we met. She actually knew me before I knew her as she was one of the 15 members of “my” Newbery committee. We had about 13 minutes to catch up while at ALA in New Orleans (Edie is one busy lady, in addition to being on the Notables Committee). On the Monday before the conference, she and her husband Wally hosted Neil for a “simple” dinner at their home in Maryland (he was in D.C.). The “simple” dinner was anything but, and the highlight for Neil was the homemade crab cakes.

In addition to treating Neil like a king, Edie sent him off with a gift for me. 

She had collected dolls like this while she lived in Japan. I was so touched — this little lady is carved from a piece of wood (it looks like birch) and she is absolutely charming. Her “gown” is decorated with a small landscape and hand-lettered characters. 

I don’t know exactly what the Japanese says, but I translate Edie’s thoughtful gesture as pure friendship.