Little did I know the adventures ahead when I agreed to write James Smith’s story! Recently I had the honor of being the guest speaker at The Irene B. Reid Memorial Tea, an annual event hosted by Leah’s Book Club in Baltimore. Two weeks later I’m still filled with joy from the experience.
Their speakers in years past have been university professors, civil rights activists, and well known lawyers – big names! I was intimidated until I reminded myself Smitty asked me to tell his story, so that’s the story I shared with the 180-person crowd. What a great day we shared.
I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
Louise Smith, on whom the character “Bernice” is based, looks elegant in her shimmering outfit.
Love and laughter filled the banquet room. To the left is one of Louise’s sisters on whom the character Minnie is based.
This lovely lady gave me a special welcome before things got started.
There were plenty of friends with whom to catch up.
Jamie and LaReesa, two of Smitty’s daughters were there along with son-in-law Norman.
In the book their characters are known as Peggy and Bernice, in life these dear friends are Jane and Louise.
Derick Thompson provided wonderful music making it hard to sit still in my chair.
The angelic voice of Patelle Harris singing an operatic piece brought the crowd to tears as they stood and cheered.
The Honorable Kurt L. Schmoke, President of University of Baltimore and former Baltimore Mayor, opened the event with praise for The Legacy of Nobody Smith. This very busy man had actually read the book!
And the family of Rev. James Smith presented me this this beautiful plaque. I was completely overwhelmed
Leah’s Book Club presented me with a lovely clock.
The tea was closed by singing Smitty’s favorite hymn, followed by time to greet readers and sign books.
After a very full day we drove away from Forest Park Golf Club under a gorgeous evening sky that felt like a hug from heaven.