Thursday, August 2, 2012

An amazing coincidence: Sister Camille's experience

by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
On Friday, February 11, 2011, I received a message on my answering machine.  The name was garbled; however, the phone number for contacting the party was clear, and I copied it down.  In going to my computer, my son had forwarded a message to me from our web site which duplicated the answering-machine message.  The message was as follows:
    “Your father-in-law is a long time friend and mentor of mine.  Something has come to my attention that I would like to discuss with you.  I will be out much of today; however, I’d appreciate a phone number where I might contact you.”

Shortly after I read the message, the phone rang, and it was Sister Camille.
What she told me was “an amazing coincidence.”
She said that she learned just a couple of weeks before this that Edgar’s [Willis] book, Civilian in an ill-fitting uniform: A memoir of World War II had been published.  Immediately when she heard the news she ordered a copy from  But, instead of ordering a new copy, one used copy was available, and she ordered that one.
The book arrived just two days before her call to me, and she was astounded to read what was written on the opening page:

                                    “February 4, 2010
         On behalf of the author, Edgar E. Willis, and And Then Some Publishing, L.L.C., we           present this book to the Maumee Public Library.”
Sister Camille mentioned the beautiful handwriting used in the inscription (which was mine), but she wanted to let me know that the book I thought I had given to the Maumee Public Library on behalf of a local author (Edgar E. Willis lives at Kingston Residence, Room 226, 333 East Boundary, Perrysburg, OH 43551) had been sold to
What is the “amazing coincidence”?  Sister Camille and Edgar go back many, many years.  They have been friends for years.  To think that it was her who ordered the copy, and to think that she saw (has in her possession) the inscription I wrote to the local library is simply amazing.
Sister Camille’s major concern was not the coincidence nor the friendship.  Her concern was simply that a book of this caliber by a local author was intended to be in the local library to be read by interested members of the community, and it was not available to them.  This was a disservice to both Edgar and the community.
How this happened is a puzzlement, and it will be pursued at the Maumee Public Library with Mary Chwialkowski, Library Manager.  We know that when the local historian at the Way Public Library (Richard Baranowski, Reference/Local History Librarian) looked for Edgar’s book about one month ago (the book was given to Way Public Library at exactly the same time as when it was given to the Maumee Library), it was not in circulation.  Having checked he found the book was located downstairs in the library waiting to receive an OSHA number.
What Mr. Baranowski decided to do was to call the Maumee Library to see if the book was in circulation there.  What he tried to determine was if that library had an OSHA number for the book that the Way Library could use.  The book was not listed in the Maumee catalog, and no OSHA number was available.  Mr. Baranowski apologized for the delay in getting the book from donation to catalog listing, but he could say nothing about a time frame for a future entry into the card catalog.  (What is interesting is that I have donated five books by a local author (myself) without OSHA numbers that have been previously published by And Then Some Publishing, L.L.C., and all are available to the community and listed in the catalog.
As I write this essay (02-11-11), there is no resolution to this dilemma.  The question is a simple one: How did a book I donated (and inscribed) to the Maumee Library in February, 2010, end up as a used book sold at
    This question will be pursued for the following reasons:
    1.    We find the disappearance of the book from the “donation shelf” at Maumee Public Library an interesting occurrence — and interesting occurrences are worth pursuing.
    2.    We would like to know, if possible, who is responsible for selling the book at a public library to
    3.    Shouldn’t someone want to know how this whole event took place so that it wouldn’t happen in the future?
    4.    What is doing a public service worth?  Shouldn’t events like this be pursued simply as a public service?
I want to thank Sister Camille, of course, for calling (and sending an Internet message) to alert us (those of us at And Then Some Publishing, L.L.C. (ATSP)) to the situation.  We think that the community is being deprived access to a great book by a local author.  We think that Edgar E. Willis is being deprived of representation as a local author at one of the premier local library venues.  We at ATSP hope that the situation gets resolved to Sister Camille’s satisfaction, and we intend to call her with the news.  She is the host of a radio show, and I’m certain this whole event will, at some point, be revealed to a wider audience. It is truly an amazing coincidence when you think that the very book I inscribed for and donated to the Maumee Public Library ended up not just being sold at, but being purchased as a used book by a long and true friend of the author who wrote the book.

We found an answer to this amazing coincidence that was simple and to the point: When a book is “donated” to the Maumee Public Library (part of the Lucas County Public Library system) it is given to .Friends of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. Friends of the Library (FOTL) is a nonprofit organization that encourages, promotes, and supports the ongoing operation of the Library, and “donated” books are sold (often at to support FOTL operations.  Sister Camille purchased the book at, and it was supplied by FOTL.
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Copyright August, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.

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