In case you thought you knew all you needed to know about our volunteers from the smile they gave you as they handed you your receipt, here are some more tales of the people who have worked the Book Fair.
We have a volunteer who once gave Bible readings behind locked doors in Moscow, as a KGB agent patrolled the halls outside the hotel room.
One of our volunteers was a member of Merrill’s Marauders during World War II.
One of our volunteers volunteered for the campaign office of a candidate for Governor of Illinois, and spent the first day teaching the other volunteers not to say “Hello” when they answered the phone. (She had them recite after her “This is X Campaign Headquarters. How may I help you?”)
One of our volunteers campaigned for Adlai Stevenson, being flown from town to town in a one-engine plane.
One of our volunteers went to an auction of Abraham Lincoln memorabilia, and found herself bidding against Governor Jim Thompson. (They both lost; Malcolm Forbes was submitting phone bids at the same time.)
A volunteer of ours was a pioneer air hostess (stewardess, to some of us.)
I have been told that one of our volunteers was the first woman AND the first American to be part of the commission that overseas preservation of medieval court rolls in England.
One of our volunteers wintered in the Florida Keys, where he would annually dress in green and appear as a leprechaun in the St. Patrick’s Day parade, sometimes astride a green horse.
One of our volunteers was the editor on the Dick and Jane series of schoolbooks.
One of our volunteers took the train in from South Carolina every year to work the Book fair. Another took the bus in from California for the same purpose.
At one time our volunteer corps included all the executive secretaries of the President of the Newberry Library back to 1945.
One of our volunteers once challenged the Frugal Gourmet in public on the subject of Cuban food.
One of our volunteers claimed he had had all his personal belongings taken from him under the RICO Act (the anti-racketeering law that says any of a suspect’s property which could be considered acquired under the crimes committed may be seized)
One of our volunteers worked for many years for a government agency that takes great interest in people who fall under the Rico Act.
These two volunteers never got a chance to work together, or I might have material for several blogs and a novel.