Holly Painter! Poet. Intern. Astronaut.
It’s been a little over a year since Holly first walked through the red velvet curtain at 826michigan, on what turned out to be a very momentous day. Holly’s very first experience with 826michigan was with the very first iteration of what we call “the mystery field trip”. It is ostensibly called that because it entreats fourth- and fifth-grade students to solve the mystery of who stole Dr. Blotch’s secret diary, but on that day it truly was a mystery to us. To put it a bit less formally, we had no idea what we were going to do.
A few very large coffees, some wacky costumes, and one frantic brainstorming session later, we came up with a field trip wherein four volunteers (including Holly) played four different members of Dr. Blotch’s retinue, each with a motive to steal the Blotch diary. We sent suspects up to be interrogated by the fourth-grade detectives (very capable interrogators, we assure you), and asked the students to write down what they believed had occurred.
Against the odds, it turned out to be a very successful field trip and we are now performing it at regular intervals with close to the same format we came up with on that one, fateful morning.
Holly showed up for her very first day of volunteering and was promptly handed a bowler hat and a trench coat and told to create the character of Dr. Blotch’s psycho-analyst. A lesser individual might have been intimidated. Might have backed right through those red velvet curtains. Might have said, “Uh, I’ll wear the bowler hat but I WON’T do a funny accent.”
Fortunately, a lesser individual didn’t come to 826 that morning. Holly Painter did.
In the year and change since the original Mystery Field Trip, Holly has bound more chapbooks, spray-painted more carpet squares, and run more field trips of her very own than we can count. She’s become a charter member of the 826michigan volunteer book club, The Reading Robots, exposing us to novels like Cloud Atlas and The Selected Works of TS Spivet. She’s sung holiday carols whilst wrapped in aluminum foil, and successfully Charade-d through rounds of Celebrity at board game nights. She’s raised money for our programs during last October’s Great Write Off and March’s Trivia For Cheaters.
Alas, all good things must come to an end and soon it will be time for us to wish a tearful goodbye to Holly as she prepares to move to Singapore with her fiancee Emily. Before we do though, we’ve got to take a moment to acknowledge Holly and the many contributions she made to our programs in the 2012-2013 school year.
Bon voyage and thank you so very much, Holly! With you around, 826michigan has become more fearless, more friendly, and more fun.