Authors Fay Vincent and Martha Powers entertain literacy supporters

VERO BEACH — Acclaimed authors Fay Vincent and Martha Powers were the guest speakers at the first of two Champagne Receptions in the Love of Literacy Author Series. 

Guests mingled and chatted with Vincent and Powers, while sipping on champagne and refreshing Mimosas.  Don Mann chaired the event; honorary co-chairs Carol Kanarek and Susan Chenault lent additional support as did committee members Bob Bond, John Banitt and Bonnie Steene. (See photo gallery at the end of story) Literacy Services is the only local organization dedicated to reducing the estimated 20 percent of adults who have sub-par literacy skills.  They provide free one-on-one confidential tutoring to local adults and high school students and also assist foreign-born students in learning the English language.

Oceanside Rotarians, Elaine Jones, Karl Steene, Lisa Rymer and Susan Smith provided and decorated the spacious Indian River Shores Community Room and supplied many of the elegant hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

When asked how she first became aware of Literacy Services, Powers said, “I met Mary [Silva] a long time ago; I think it was one of her tutors who introduced me.  She asked me to speak at the luncheon and I was thrilled to do it.  I wasn’t that familiar with the program, but when I listened to the stories, it really touched me.  There was one man who just wanted to know enough so that he could read his bible.  For most of us that’s something we take for granted.  For him it was momentous.  Another woman talked about wanting to read to her children.  For those of us who read, it’s a simple request, but for them it’s an enormous thing.”


Speaking to the audience, Powers remembered how exciting it was when she first saw her then two year-old daughter make the connection between a picture of a dog and the written word DOG.  “When they learn to read, we give them the world.”

Giving an example of how real life stories are often more fun than something you can make up, Powers kept the audience in stitches with an airline adventure involving her daughter’s cat and a box full of live crabs.  She also gave us the inside scoop on the idea behind her latest book, Conspiracy and again showed off a quick wit saying, “When you write it’s like sending your babies out there; you hope they won’t spit on you.”

Fay Vincent was next at bat; noticing that even in a literacy group, and despite all his other undertakings, the subject still always turns to baseball.  But then he said with a smile, “Baseball songs are all about failure; nobody ever succeeds in a baseball song.  It follows life – we’ve all tried something and failed.”

Vincent entertained with thoughts of Socrates, remarking that although Socrates is considered of of the most influential people in western civilization, there is no record of his ever writing a sentence, let alone a book.   And, of course, the afternoon wouldn’t have been complete without a couple of Vincent’s favorite stories relating to Ted Williams and Yogi Berra.

The second champagne reception, scheduled for February 6, will feature author Stephanie Keating who has co-authored books such as A Durable Fire and Blood Sisters.  The finale in the series is the Love of Literacy luncheon March 25 at Bent Pines Golf Club featuring Kent Annan, author and co-founder of Haiti Partners. {igallery 60}

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