This weekend was special for me.
E.B. White’s grandniece hosted a book signing.
She signed my two copies of “Charlotte’s Web”.
Her first edition copy,
gifted to her by E.B (Uncle Andy)
was on display.
Also on display was his Underwood typewriter.
Here is the family portrait. E.B. is the baby.
I’m in a raffle drawing for a signed book.
We had fun posing for a photo.
“What is your favorite writing in the book?” I asked.
She never moved again. Next day, as the ferris wheel was being taken apart and the race horses were being loaded into vans and entertainers were packing up their belongings and driving away in their trailers, Charlotte died. The Fair Grounds were soon deserted. The infield was littered with bottles and trash. Nobody, of the hundreds of people that had visited the Fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died.
My goodness! It was a lump-in-the-throat moment hearing those words read aloud.
“Jennie, did you know that Uncle Andy was Wilbur, and his wife was Charlotte? When he recorded reading the book, it took him seventeen takes to read that paragraph. Seventeen.”
Back home the book and the event stuck with me. Fall is beautiful in New England. It was also the time when Wilbur was back home in the barn. Perhaps that’s why reading “Charlotte’s Web” to my students in the fall makes the book special. I often wonder if E.B. White saw the same fall beauty as I do.
Groton view from Gibbet Hill
courtesy of local resident Jeff Kubick.
Oh my gosh! What an experience. “Charlotte’s Web” was the first book I remember reading cover to cover. I can till remember exactly where I was, lying on my back on a small loveseat in my grandmother’s dining room. Good books never leave us.
What a wonderful memory! You’re right that good books never leave us. I read this book aloud every year and always feel like it’s the first time.
How amazing that you met EB White’s grandniece! Another terrific experience to add to your growing list. I love the picture of fall in New England. Such gorgeous colours.
It was such a treat! I have met her before, and her Uncle Andy’s memorabilia is fabulous. She told me that PBS is doing a documentary on E.B. White, and they spent a lot of time with her. New England is very pretty in the fall.
This is so, so precious, Jennie!
Thank you, Ritu! 🥰
how wonderful, he is one of my fav writers and i love his story –
Beth, do you know the book “Some Writer” by Melissa Sweet? As an E.B. White lover, it is my absolute favorite!!
no, but I’ll check it out. thanks!
I’m so glad. I can’t say enough good about this creative book.
oh my gosh, jennie! i now realize that i have that book, read it, and loved it, but didn’t recognize the title. so good –
YES! What a great life story. I love the old photo of him swinging on the rope swing in the barn.
So many great glimpses into his life
Yes, so many!
Beth, I meant to tell you that she told me PBS is doing a documentary on EB. They spent a lot of time with her!!
yay! thanks for telling me –
Wow! Wouldn’t you just love to sit and talk with her for hours about the memories of her granduncle?
Yes!! I have visited her before, and was lucky enough to see some of his memorabilia and hear a few stories. Pete, there is a wonderful book, “Some Writer” by Melissa Sweet. She not only tells his story, but includes many original artifacts and photos. You would LOVE this book!
Somehow I missed out on Charlotte’s web, but it all sounds lovely! Apart from the spider dying of course! 🥴
I love that book. And that paragraph always makes me cry. It did again.
Thanks for sharing, Jennie.
You’re welcome, John.
That must have been a wonderful experience , Jennie. Thanks for sharing it with us.
It really was, Dan. Thank you!
Wonderful, Jennie… Thanks so much for sharing! 🍂
Thank you, Bette! 💕
That’s a devastating paragraph. That reality — that fairs end, and people pack up and leave, and all living beings die (sometimes alone) breaks my heart on an almost daily basis… What an extraordinary writer. How exciting to spend more time with his grandniece — and hurrah that someone is working on a documentary about him! Thank you for sharing all of this with us, dear Jennie. Deep breath in. Deep breath out.
It is sad, yet beautifully written. Reality with heart and compassion. I feel lucky to have spent time with his relative, the one who cares about keeping his memory alive. I’m very excited about the documentary, too. Thank you, Will.
Such a wonderful experience, Jennie!
I’m so glad that you had this opportunity; how wonderful to make that connection…
Thank you, Jim.
That must have been such a thrill! Thank you for sharing the “behind the scenes” details of the book. They make a special book even more special.
It was a thrill, Liz. Hearing from her those behind the scenes moments was a dream come true.
I can only imagine!
Oh wow Jennie. How exciting to spend time with E.B.’s niece and the signing. What a treat to get an inside scoop on the writer’s style and bloopers. ❤
It was wonderful, Debby!! 💕
What an exciting opportunity! I’m so happy you were able to participate and get your books signed by his grandniece. I cherish my signed books. I would think that paragraph would move you every time you read it.
It was wonderful, Marlene. Thank you. I have more than a few signed books, and everyone is a treasure. Yes, I am moved to tears every time I read that paragraph. That’s a good thing, it’s the power of words and reading.
How exciting Jennie.. there are some authors that I would love to meet in person and I envy you this opportunity… fabulous ♥
Thank you, Sally! It was definitely a thrilling experience.
How exciting, Jennie! Charlotte’s Web will always be one of my favorites. What an experience. The backstory of characters and just being in the presence of EB’s family spirit~what an honor. I’m so happy your books were signed. 💛
It was very exciting, and certainly an honor. The book is near and dear to me.
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That paragraph she read is a real ‘lump in the throat’ moment indeed. What wonderful writing.
Best wishes, Pete.
What a great writer he was. I’m glad you enjoyed his paragraph as much as I do, every year. Thank you, Pete.
Beautiful post! The excerpt is so beautifully heartbreaking 😢
Must’ve been a dream to get to meet E. B.’s grandniece! 😊
It was fabulous, Jen. That paragraph ‘gets me’ every time I read it. too.
What a beautiful memory 😊 and if you don’t mind visit my website also please I’m little bit new here
I am in awe and envious reading this! What a wonderful experience
Thank you, Lisa. It was wonderful!
Great memory, I am planning to publish a Christian children book.
How lovely, Jennie. I remember that paragraph very well.
I’m so glad. It is one of the best. Thank you, Robbie.
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Thank you, Michael!
Congratulations to this great experience, Jennie! Now you school has a second gem, beside you! 🙂 xx Michael
That’s so nice, Michael. Thank you!
So moving that the spider was a person in the author’s mind. What a priviledged meeting. Just lovely. My like button doesn’t work on some sites
When he wrote the story, Charlotte the spider was his wife and he was Wilbur the pig. Yes, that is quite moving! Meeting one of E.B. White’s relatives was such a treat. Stay tuned for another post on this tomorrow morning. Thank you!
I certainly will. I enjoy a teacher’s perspective.
How wonderful to sit and talk to his grandniece and hear the stories first hand. He wrote two of my favourite childhood books, Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little. I saw your next post first, so I know what is next. A remarkable man, a lover of books.
It was truly wonderful! She is really the keeper of her Uncle Andy’s artifacts (except for the vast collection he gave to his alma mater, Cornell.) And, she was invited to spend four days at Cornell. She has many stories to tell. Yes. he was a remarkable man and a lover of books. Best to you, Carla.