We all knew this was coming, that there would be an announcement, simple and to the point: our dear friend, loyal customer, and devoted booster, Reva Metzger, had died at last. She'd been ill for a while, and there was no good prognosis, no light at the end of the tunnel. All we could do was wait and hope that when it happened, she would die peacefully and without pain. I wish I could say I was relieved to hear that she slipped away from us in just such a fashion-no muss, no fuss-that her death was "easy" as those things go. But there's a selfish part of me that yearns for her to stick around.
Reva was a fighter for seemingly lost causes, a do-gooder in the best sense of that word, a woman who, although she herself was possibly the most disorganized person on the planet, could still manage to pull together individuals and groups from all over town and cajole them into getting the job done. It was Reva who came to us in the depths of the last recession and said, I don't want Readers' Books to disappear. What can I do to help? It was Reva and her army of friends who launched the big fund-raising drive that built the Reading Garden that graces our store today with its spectacular flower bed and fountain, Reva who fronted the initial money and got the ball rolling. The Reading Garden, in case you don't know, is-- beside the books and our staff-- one of the crown jewels of this place: last week it was the site of Mara Unger's clay class, and Roger and Diana Rhoten's summer performance camp will be in and out all this week for face painting, juggling and magic lessons. We've used it for book talks, poetry and play readings, jazz concerts, and of course, Random Acts, our monthly venture into the unknown land of the open mic.
What I'm trying to say is that we owe a lot to Reva Metzger, that just one caring and determined visionary can make an enormous difference in the lives of us all. I know we get lots of praise from our customers for what a great store we have, that this is always the first place they stop at when they come to town, that Sonoma wouldn't be the same without us, etc. And I appreciate those sentiments, I do. But what really makes this town special is the people who live here, the givers-- the quiet, steadfast, unsung heroes like Reva.
Reva Metzger had the purest of hearts. In fact, she was all heart.