January 20, 2014

A Little Help From His Friends

Today's post is a special one.  I have a story to share.  Please forgive me if it's a little long, and read to the end if you can - it's important!

Once upon a time, there was a teacher who loved books.  He loved people and the stories they had to tell, and he loved his community.

Me and Scott in a photo that is not at all posed :)
Wanting to share his love of books and reading and enrich his community, Scott Meyer started his bookstore by accident.  (He says if he'd ever had any business classes, he never would have done it since he's done all the things they tell you not to do!)

He started out with two tables, borrowed from a local school on Friday nights.  He set up his books on a street corner at the main intersection in Millbrook, NY, and sold them on weekends, returning the borrowed tables to the school on Sundays at dark.

In 1983 Scott got an actual storefront, and sold his first book there in 1984.  He didn't have enough stock, so he went to the local library each week, borrowed books for his window display, and put up a sign telling people that if they wanted to read the books they could get them from the library after he returned them, and if they wanted to own the books, he could order them.  It gave him a window full of books, helped his fledgling business off the ground, and promoted the local library.

The bookstore moved four times, but has been located here for many years:
Merritt Bookstore, Millbrook, NY, owned and run by Scott Meyer
Scott is involved with the local schools and library, he serves on the Millbrook Business Association, he supports local businesses, offers his store space to display the work of local artists, supports girl scouts and 4H, and runs events to encourage reading while also bringing business to Millbrook.  For a Harry Potter event, he once had 72 high school students sleep over in the store.

As the book business has grown more difficult, Scott has been forced to look for out-of-town events, like the New York State Readers Association Conference in Saratoga Springs, events he does in addition to all the local ones.

It is a tremendous challenge to stay solvent.  Scott hasn't made money in a while.  But he believes his community deserves a bookstore.

And it is a fortunate community that has his bookstore.

Merritt is well stocked...

...cozy and inviting...


...a place to browse and enjoy!
To Scott, everyone who comes through his door is famous.  Everyone has a talent or a skill.  Everyone has stories to tell.  Everyone is important.  He converses daily with stone masons, dancers, historians, cloud-catchers, teachers, authors, stay-at-home moms, doctors, and people of every kind and he enjoys them all.

His is a writer's bookstore - he loves authors and is excited for their books and the work they do.  Witness the lovely display of local author Susanna Leonard Hill :)


He knows his customers.  When he hears of a new book he thinks, oh! so-and-so would love that, and makes a point to let them know.

7th graders shadow Scott to learn about the book business
Scott thought the struggle was about keeping his bookstore.

Now, Scott has cancer - melanoma, which is a tough one to defeat.  He has been battling it for over a year, and his medical bills are mounting astronomically.   He has had multiple surgeries, chemo, and radiation, and will be starting a new drug trial next month because things are not working as well as everyone hoped and the cancer has spread.

And yet through all this, he has shown up at his bookstore every day he can.  He remains optimistic, positive, cheerful, and uncomplaining.  He jokes about the things he's had to endure, and feels worse for his family than he does for himself.  And he is still there for his community in spite of everything.  He is brave, and admirable, and a role model to all for how to handle a bad situation with grace.

So, even though you may not know him, I'd like to ask you to consider helping him out.  He has helped and supported me my entire career as an author, and I would be no kind of friend if I couldn't do the same for him when he needs it.

If you've been thinking of buying a book or two for yourself or someone you know, if you would consider ordering it from Merritt this time (Merritt Bookstore) instead of your usual online choice, that would be a wonderful support of his store.  An increase in sales would help him so much.  He is well stocked and has lots of books that have been signed by authors.  In fact, if you're interested in picture books, there are a number local authors who would likely be willing to sign their books for you if you order from Scott's store including Iza Trapani (see Iza's books), Michael Garland (see Michael's books), Karen Orloff (see Karen's books), and myself (see my books).  And if you want to go above and beyond (because I know at least a few of my readers live in this area and know Scott personally, or maybe you just want to help a fellow book lover in need) you can contribute to his fund (link below) to help make sure he can meet his medical bills, take care of his family, and ensure that his sons get to go to college.  Any amount, even $5, will be deeply appreciated.

My most heartfelt thanks for your time and patience in reading this, and for any help you can give my friend.

Have a marvelous Monday, everyone!


Reactions:

61 comments:

  1. Choose your friends carefully..

    http://makingandtaking.com/choose-friends-carefully/

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  2. My heart goes out to Scott and his family- such lovely, hard-working, good people. How tragic that the cancer has spread, but yet I am hoping Scott's indomitable spirit will help pull him through this next challenge. Please send him my love when you see him or speak to him. And, of course, I will contribute to the fund.

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  3. Oh, and thank you, Susanna for this post.

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  4. Scott sounds like a wonderful guy and I wish we had someone like him in my community running an indie bookstore. I would love to help out this special person. He is lucky to have such a good friend in you!

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  5. Susanna,
    How wonderful of you to post this. Scott is a blessing to others and so are you!

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  6. Beautiful tribute to a warm and wonderful lover of books. Merritt Bookstore is wonderful. Best of luck to Scott and his family.

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  7. This_Kid_Reviews_Books_ErikJanuary 20, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    Oh my. I'll try to convince Mom to let me donate and order books from there! Mr. Meyer sounds like a wonderful person!

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  8. What a worthwhile cause - and what a champion of a bloke! Thank you for sharing this Susanna.

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  9. That's a big can do, Sus. He sounds like my kinda guy. (And looks handsome in the non-posed picture.) *wink*

    I will order some books. Yes.

    I am sorry that he has cancer. Such an ugly word! I will also add him to my prayer list. I know he'll have an outpouring of writer love who will order from his lovely store.

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  10. I am hoping that to, Iza! He has the best kind of attitude and so many people pulling for him. And I didn't mean to speak for you about the book signing, but I didn't think you'd mind - I would drive any books to your house for you to make it easy :)

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  11. It's really the other way around, Teresa - I have a good friend in him - one I want very much not to lose. I thank you for myself and for him for anything you feel like doing oh his behalf.

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  12. He really is, Linda. Our community would not be the same without him - he's a wonderful guy!

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  13. Thank you so much, Nancy. I'm sure every good wish for him helps!

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  14. He really is, Erik. He works especially hard on behalf of kids - reading challenges, store events, school book fairs - he does it all!

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  15. He sounds like a marvelous man, and blessed to have a friend like you. Praying for him. So difficult.

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  16. Thank you for taking the time to read, Belinda, and for your kind words! He is a great guy who deserves better than what's been handed to him.

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  17. He's a red-head like you, Rob :) Well, maybe more strawberry blonde :) But that real fair Scottish kind of coloring. So very kind of you to consider ordering books - anything at all from the latest bestseller to MG books for Ivy or whatever you might need - he will be grateful, and I will be grateful to you for helping my friend!

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  18. Thank you for your prayers, Joanne. I know they will help.

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  19. What a nice man. I do hope him and his bookstore are around for many years. I would love to grab a book of Iza's to help since I already have yours :)

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  20. I'm already looking up books over there. <3 you Sus!

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  21. Thank you so much, Catherine! She has lots to pick from :)

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  22. Thank you for giving back and sharing Scott's story. :-)

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  23. What a wonderful man and book store. Thanks so much for highlighting this need, Susanna. This is a super tribute and a worthy, worthy cause.

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  24. Thank YOU for taking the time to read it, Tracy - I so appreciate it and know he does too.

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  25. Thank you so much, Joanna. He is a wonderful man, and his family is lovely, and he richly deserves any help I can give.

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  26. Susanna, Thanks so much for posting this. Scott and his bookstore sound so wonderful! Will think of Merritt books when I make my next purchase.

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  27. This post is just what I would expect from you, Susanna...you don't just care about others - you follow through to help in every way you can.:) Thank you so much for this heartfelt story...Scott Meyer has reached out to others all of his life - now it's time for others to reach out to him!

    I think it is time to do a little Christmas shopping for next year - I'd love to buy a couple signed books written by Iza and you. :)

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  28. Thank you so much, Robin! I so appreciate it and know Scott will too!

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  29. You are so kind, Vivian. I so appreciate this. Scott is a wonderful person who has brought so much to so many. I wish he wasn't in a position to need this help, but I'm glad to belong to such a generous community that is willing to help when he needs it.

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  30. Yes, I know Susan well - she is lovely - a former librarian :) Thank you so so much, Vivian!! <3

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  31. I've been meaning to order a Susanna Leonard Hill book and this seems like the perfect time. Wondering if you can sign those lift-the-flap books? My son is godfather to a rambunctious, train-loving toddler and yours would be great (even if it can't be signed, I'll know it's from you). ;-)

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  32. Yes, absolutely Cathy! I can definitely sign those. Thank you so much for considering! If you order from Merritt, they'll let me know when it's ordered and I'll stop in and sign it for you. Just make sure to tell me or them the name and if there's anything particular you want written, like Happy Birthday or anything :)

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  33. You're a gem, Susanna. Just ordered a couple of books. I hope you and Iza will be able to sign them for me, and my nephews. God Bless You!!

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  34. Oh, my goodness! YOU'RE a gem, Pam! Thank you so much! I will certainly sign, and I will drive books to Iza's house myself if that makes it easier for her to sign :) God bless you!

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  35. Scott sounds like a lovely person. I am happy to participate in the campaign--my thoughts are with his family

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  36. Donation. Done. Great story, Susanna. Prayers and happy thoughts are headed Scott's way. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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  37. What a wonderful thing your community is doing. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute. Will make a call or a donation. Such a great cause.

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  38. Thank you, Pat. I so appreciate your kindness, and I know Scott will too.

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  39. First, I think it's wonderful to hear of someone who follows his heart and does something like keeping a bookstore for his community in spite to tough times for Indies. And second, thank you for doing this for your friend. It's a wonderful story. Donation is on the way, plus I'll order some books, which I do often enough, so now I'll just order here!

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  40. Thanks for sharing this lovely story. I will certainly be ordering some books. Unfortunately, the author links don't seem to work, but I can work around that. Still I thought you should know.

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  41. Thank you so much for helping, Rosi. I really appreciate it and I know Scott does too. As for the links, oh no! I will have to check them. Thank you for telling me!

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  42. You're so kind, Linda! Thank you so much! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it, and I know Scott will too!

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  43. That is so weird. Michael's works and the others all just go to a Merritt main page even though that's not the url that's attached! This may be beyond my technological abilities!

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  44. Susanna, you live Jude 1:22, "some have compassion, making a difference." Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be a part of this. May God Bless you and the Meyer family.

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  45. Called this morning, Susanna, so the books are waiting for you. I gave them the info, but I'll tell you, too, just in case. The little guy's name is Jason and the books are for his birthday. My son (the godfather who'll be given Jason the books) was SO excited! (Of course, that might have had something to do with me buying the birthday gifts... :-) ) Thanks so much!

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  46. Susanna, Thanks for sharing Scott's story. I will keep him and his family in my thoughts. I've ordered some books from his bookstore, including your Freight Train book, which I know my friend's child will love.

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  47. just ordered from Merritt's. Had a delightful conversation with Scott's wife, Allison. Wonderful post, as usual, Miss Susanna, you with such a loving heart!

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  48. Yaay! Signed books from Susanna and Iza. Thank you so much.

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  49. Oh, Linda! Thank you so much! You are so kind, and I really appreciate it! :)

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  50. Thank you SO much, Melanie! I really can't tell you how much I appreciate that! If you left signing instructions for Freight Train, I will hustle myself right up there and sign it for you :) Many many thanks!

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  51. Thank YOU so much for being kind enough to want to take part. I appreciate it so much, Laura. Blessings to you too!

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  52. Thank you SO much, Cathy! You're the best! :)

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  53. Susanna, I'd love to have you sign your book. I'm giving it to a friend's child, and his name is Benjamin. The bookstore told me they had to order your book and that it might take a few days to get it in, so don't rush right over on my account!

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  54. I'm happy to do it, Melanie :) And I'm surprised they don't have copies in... I hope that means they've been selling like hotcakes :)

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  55. He sounds like an amazing guy. Hope he has successful treatment and a speedy recovery. :)

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  56. Thank you, Meg. I hope that so much too!

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  57. Thanks for spreading the word, Susanna. I think we may hit the $25,000 mark tomorrow. So heartwarming to see the help and the love pouring in.

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  58. Elizabeth Cody KimmelJanuary 23, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Thanks for spreading the word, Susanna. I think we may hit the $25,000 mark tomorrow. So heartwarming to see the help and the love pouring in.

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  59. Thank YOU for organizing the whole campaign, Beth. And yes, it is wonderful to see the help and love - just too bad it's for this reason!

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