Thursday, October 9, 2008

Familiarity

One of the funny things about researching a book project is the people you become acquainted with in, let's say, uncommon, places.

Yesterday evening, for example, I was at the Ontario Archives reviewing microfilm of the York Gazette, Toronto's first newspaper, for the Lake Ontario manuscript. When I first started going to the archives, while researching Lake Erie Stories, I got the odd arched eyebrow from the staff. (I assumed this was because I'm quite a bit younger than the archives' regular clientele.) Gradually, however, this has dissipated. Last night, I shuffled in dripping wet from cycling over in a steady rain. "Still biking, eh?" asked the security guard, who rarely musters even a brief greeting.

Over at the Toronto Reference Library a week or so earlier, I approached the periodicals desk and asked for a couple volumes of Inland Seas, a great newsletter devoted to Great Lakes history, put out by the Great Lakes Historical Society.

"Oh, yeah. I remember you," said the library assistant.

"Really?" I said. "That's funny, because I haven't been here in at least a year."

"I know," he replied. "But you're the only one who ever asks for it."

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