Patricia DePoyster Nachbar, who served as a librarian for 28 years at Alcorn Central, has published “Love Doesn’t Die,” a story she told to students for years but only recently decided to put in print.
It is the story of the death of her father, Winford “W.B.” DePoyster, as seen through the eyes of her eight-year-old daughter, DeAnna, and how it affects the family. Although written and illustrated in the style of a children’s book, she believes the message resonates for adults, as well.
“It’s the things that my daughter, who was in second grade at that time, said to me about Dad’s sickness and death,” she said. “One day, one of the classes had been talking about death. I remembered all the things DeAnna had said. She was very curious about it, about why he was in the hospital. After they left, I sat down at my desk, and it just flowed from my pen.”
Nachbar, better known as “Mrs. Harville” to the former students who would gather around her on the library floor for story time, was encouraged by her husband to publish the story. Her niece, Debra DePoyster, illustrated the book.
“I think it’s a book that most families need in their home because it helps children as well as adults accept that death is a part of the natural process of living and dying,” she said. “I used it with children in school several times when they would have a parent or grandparent to die.”
It was written in 1977. For about 10 years, she read it to each class that came through the library doors.
“And I used to cry every time I read it,” she recalled. “And then I got so I could read it without crying. It’s a very personal story.”
After teaching second, third and sixth grade and adult education, Nachbar became a school librarian upon completion of a master’s in library science.
“That was really my love, because I always liked stories and storytelling,” she said. “But when I was in school, we didn’t have libraries. Our English teacher took care of the few books that we had.”
She enjoys hearing from the many students that remember her story times.
“The biggest reward is having kids who come up to you all the time and say, ‘I remember so and so,’” said Nachbar.
She recently received a message from a former student who said, “I can still hear your voice.”
Nachbar has another book for older children nearly ready to go, and she hopes the first book, with its message about life and death, gets a good response.
In the story, her uncle officiates her father’s funeral.
“He talked about our love for Paps,” said Nachbar. “He said that we would always remember Paps and love him. ‘Love doesn’t die,’ he said.”
(Nachbar will sign copies of the book at KC’s Espresso on July 9 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.)