Fifth Annual Lucy’s Playhouse Picnic September 28

The Friends of the Library (FOL) and all the friends of the Friends invite the community to the fifth annual picnic at the James Memorial Public Library on Saturday, September 28 at 5 p.m. Ticket sales are ongoing at the library, and may be purchased at the event. Adult prices are $10 and include dinner of ribs or hot dogs, potato salad, baked beans, cookies and bottled water. Children under 10 are free.


There will be additional raffle tickets for gift baskets provided by local businesses and donors. Don’t miss the very popular bake sale auction, offering homemade baked goods. This year, events for children will include a bouncy house, a children’s book sale, and, for the first time ever, horse rides! This is not just any pony either, this will be a Clydesdale! $3 per ride, kids only, please. Live music will accompany dinner.
Since the Library became the property of the city of St James in 2013, the dedicated FOL have made occasions to provide Lucy James’ style of hospitality while raising funds for all the projects that reach beyond the city budget for library programs. Friends of the Library have focused on Lucy’s Play House as the theme and its restoration as one of their goals. The playhouse was originally built for LWJ by her grandfather, whose house was a large, two story brick, standing where the maintenance shed now is.  In 1880, Lucy was born in a cottage built by the same grandfather, William James, which stood on the grounds of our present Library. Her playhouse was built by J.J. Forrester, from the Iron Works, when Lucy was five years old. She and her best friend who lived across the street, Ola Powell, waited for the completion of the tiny 6’x10’ structure with, in Ola’s words, “delighted anticipation.”
In a video interview with Ola, made three decades after Lucy’s death at 58 in 1938, you can hear Ola’s description of their play in the huge grounds that are now the St. James Park.  Ola said they collected insects, and watched small animals, but mainly played with their dolls. Once the playhouse was finished, the doll play grew to prominence. Ola, who attended the same church, as Lucy, recalled that they would often have funerals for their dolls, who would take sick and die. They sang hymns they had learned in church together, said prayers and buried them. Then dug them up, cleaned them faithfully, and started all over again. Also, she said there were many, many doll tea parties in the playhouse.
 When the Library was built in 1952-3, librarians Grace and Agnes Muller requested the restoration and rebuild of the original playhouse. It was used by many St. James children for story hour, birthday parties and photo opportunities. As it stands today, in need of a new floor, the FOL has contracted for its restoration for the 21st century.
Guest of honor this year is the new James Foundation Director Wes Swee, formerly of the Missouri Conservation Department. Swee will take the place of Mark Benton, director since 2012.  FOL would like to welcome Swee and his family and remember how much the James Foundation, created by Lucy Wortham James, has contributed to a great life in St. James, Missouri.
Find James Memorial Public Library on Facebook, or call with questions at 573-265-7211.

Judi Davis decorated this month’s display at the James Memorial Public Library. This month’s theme is “Goats” and the wall features curated items that will be featured during September.

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