Tuesday, October 02, 2018

When diagnosed with uterine cancer, Norma – newly widowed after nearly 70 years of marriage – told the doctor, “I’m 90 years old. I’m hitting the road.” And so she did. With retired son Tim, his wife Ramie and their dog Ringo, Norma began a bucket list odyssey across the United States in a 36-foot motor home.

Along the way, Miss Norma experienced hot air ballooning, saw the Grand Canyon, had her first pedicure, gathered thousands of Facebook fans and national media attention. Her adventures are captured in the 2018 Fond du Lac Reads selection, Driving Miss Norma: One Family’s Journey Saying Yes to Living, by Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle. Goodreads says the book is a “charming, joyous portrayal of a transformative journey of living life on your own terms that shows it’s never too late to begin an adventure, inspire hope or become a trailblazer.”

Driving Miss Norma is the Fond du Lac Public Library’s 2018 Fond du Lac Reads selection. The library is celebrating the “Say Yes to Living” spirit with a lineup of programs in October, highlighted by a visit by the authors. All Fond du Lac Reads programs are free; no registration required:

  • 1 p.m. Tuesday, October 2: Tim Bauerschmidt and Ramie Liddle present Norma’s Wish: Leaving a Meaningful Legacy. When asked how she wanted her fans to remember her, Miss Norma said, “I wish people would spread more joy, and maybe do something nice in their community or with their own family.” Authors Bauerschmidt and Riddle will lead a discussion on how to die with meaning and how to leave a positive legacy. The authors will have copies of the book for sale and signing.
  • 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 2: Tim and Ramie: Yes to Living. With Ringo at their side, the authors will talk about their amazing adventures with Miss Norma, their journey and its impact on their lives today. With plenty of time for questions. Books for sale and signing.
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 3, and repeated at 1 p.m. Sunday, October 7: MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival. Join more than 100,000 film lovers in 350-plus cities across six continents to view nine short films from eight different countries as FDL Public Library joins the 21st Annual MANHATTAN SHORT Film Festival. Fill out the ballots to vote for your favorite.
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, October 17: Homebrewing 101. In the book, Miss Norma discovers she really likes a glass of beer, especially when it’s served with cake. Expert brewer Andrew Roth will cover the basics of how to make beer at home, with information on sanitation, brew day, finishing and bottling. He’ll demo common procedures on equipment he’ll bring to the presentation. Plenty of time for Q&A. No beer samples, but cake will be served.
  • 6 p.m. Monday, October 22: Make a Clean Exit: Easy Estate Planning. Don’t leave a mess for your family or the courts. Learn how to put your affairs in order with a will, power of attorney documents and written wishes. Presented by local estate planning attorney and newspaper columnist Isabell Mueller. With Q&A.
  • 6 p.m. Thursday, October 25: Practical Travel Tips for Pets. There’s more to traveling with your dog or cat than packing kibble and hitting the road. There are legal, health, safety and comfort issues to consider. Local veterinarian Dr. Kim Everson gives practical advice and suggestions, including handling motion sickness, making a pet first aid kit, figuring out U.S. and international animal import requirements and more. Everson is the owner of St. Bernard’s Animal Medical Center in Van Dyne. She writes the blog Practical PetVet.
  • 6 p.m. Monday, October 29: Living Your Best Life. Deb Toth, medical social worker for Agnesian HealthCare’s Palliative Care program, will talk about how best to approach end of life: how to know when the journey begins; how to truly live until you die. Toth is involved in the advance-care-planning initiative for Palliative Care and has a long history of working with end-of-life issues.

In addition, the Books Between Bites program at Salem United Methodist Church, 120 Sheboygan St., will feature a discussion of “Driving Miss Norma” at 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, October 9, led by Dr. Heather Schmidt. Attendees are invited to bring a sack lunch; beverages will be available.

Fond du Lac Reads is an annual program that focuses on one book for discussion and programming in October. A new book is chosen every year; 2019’s book is “A Street Cat Named Bob: And How He Saved My Life,” by James Bowen. The true story of the unlikely friendship between Bowen, a street musician and former addict, and the cat that helps him heal his life has become an international best-seller.

The Fond du Lac Public Library supports a high quality of life in Fond du Lac through reading, lifelong learning and community involvement. There are two locations: the Main Library downtown at 32 Sheboygan St., and FDLPL Express near Festival Foods at Highways 23 and 151.