Recent School Visit—Brookfield Academy, Brookfield WI (suburb of Milwaukee, locally pronounced Mi-WAW-kee—Go West, Young Ls!)
DAY 1: Drive, not fly. Lots to transport:
- Large dog prop with doggie disguises.
- Small suitcase for stacks of demo-drafts, F&Gs, galleys, puppy masks (child disguises), train whistle, bottled water, two Fiber One Bars.
- Box of extra books, just in case.
- Corgi-sized purse.
- Other clothes (author disguise)
Snack Stop Somewhere: Travelers’ Oasis. Small Turtle-Pecan Cluster Blizzard on premises. Read all greeting cards.
Arrival: Sheraton Brookfield. Complimentary membership in Sheraton Club (private lounge, business center, comp water/soda, daily Happy Hour—what? ).
Room: Well-appointed overlooking outdoor pool area—what? February.
Evening: Sanitize room (my problem—own it). Lay out toiletries and undergarments for morning, prep in-room coffee system, Fiber One Bar. TV Lite, low volume. Fractured sleep.
DAY 2: Primary School. Lost. Arrive 10 minutes late. Make morning assembly anyway. Saint Rene, Library Media Specialist, does FAQ about me with kids. Check into library. Equipment/Set-up successful. Four presentations. Three bathroom breaks. Sign books. Kindergarteners perform One Pup’s Up in puppy masks. Happy day!
Later: Sheraton Club Happy Hour! Comp appetizers—WI mozzarella sticks w/ marinara sauce; phyllo-wrapped asparagus. One wine ($4, not comp). Sated.
Much later: Not sated. Room service Veggie-wrap. Fade to black.
DAY 3: Upper School. Not lost. Morning assembly. Two hours meet-n-greet students. Great questions both ways. Boy named Ferris after namesake wheel. A sign! Wanted to write about Ferris Wheel for years. Lunch with Saint Stacey, Library Media Specialist, and teacher with artist-son. Publishing-Hamline-SCBWI talk (über-active WI chapter). Love Brookfield Academy. Thank you, thank you!
Return to Hotel: Gift shop. Buy souvenir snowflake hat. Shop owner works 12 hour shifts. No reliable help. Consider hiring on, esp for Sheraton Club’s comp appetizers. Not too great tonight—basic veggies/dip and meatballs.
Homeward Bound: Night driving. Good Roads. Until…BLIZZARD. Snowblind. TRUCKS! Exit to Tomah? Pull over. Hazard lights. Pray. Wait. Pray. Road reappears. GO.
Later: Find Fiber One Bar. Demolish.
DAY 4: Dog. Laundry. Husband. Thank you notes. Notes of thanks.
Marsha Wilson Chall is the author of a chapter book for children and many picture books, including Up North at the Cabin, an American Booksellers Pick of the Lists and winner of an International Reading Association Teacher’s Choice Award; Bonaparte, a Smithsonian Notable Book for Children and winner of a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award; and One Pup’s Up, a Bank Street College of Education Best Books, and winner of a National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Gold Award.