I lived in Japan for three years beginning at age 11. It was a beautiful country. I have many wonderful memories of Japan from riding a bullet train to visiting a Shinto shrine to walking outdoor markets filled with the pungent smell of fish and packed tubs of colorful koi swimming in shades of gold, russet, and yellows.

Over those three years, we moved to a new location and a new school every one of those years. I was frequently the new girl in class and I didn’t make many close friends. Books and reading became an important part of my early teen years as stories kept me company no matter where I lived.

We returned stateside to Omaha, Nebraska when I was 13. My family stayed in a motel for two months as we waited for base housing at our new assignment. We didn’t know anyone and I had become a shy “bookworm” so I read a lot to pass the time.

The motel office had a bookshelf stuffed with Zane Grey paperback westerns. The owner invited me to borrow as many books as I wanted. It was an invitation I couldn’t resist and over time I read every book on those shelves!

Zane Grey gave me new adventures to occupy my mind and a limitless landscape to prompt my imagination. It beat being cooped up within a tiny motel room that offered little privacy for our family.

I found solace in those pages and made many “literary” friends during that lonely time in my life. I’m grateful to Zane Grey and his books for being there when I needed a friend.

Pat Galvin, Adult Craft Services