What’s In A Cover, Pt. 6

I thought I’d take a moment to share some thoughts on the day spent at the Spirit of the Jerseys. Although I was there to promote a museum and to put out some advance publicity for a historical program taking place next fall, that does not mean the only relevance was to use the event for research for a non-fiction work, or what I like to call the dark side of my writing.

To illustrate I’ll be comparing two events, a few weeks apart, one geared towards a specific niche, those interested in history, and the other an exposition more for the general public.

The first item is location. At the Made in Monmouth Expo, I was on the outer ring, not far from the main entry point. Good spot. It was next to a very popular jewelry maker. Deduct a point. Their customers often blocked my table.

At the Spirit of the Jerseys, the Matawan Historical Society was set up next to BRAVO (which stands for Battlefield Restoration and Archaeological Volunteer Organization.) One point earned by the spot. Knowing several of their members meant help to set up and take down the canopy. (Thanks guys.)

Next is signage. For outside, a large sign stuck into the ground caught the eyes of people as they walked down the path.

Inside a banner on the table fit the more intimate setting. 
Anyone who had sold or is in the process of selling a house has heard the phrase ‘curb appeal.’ Things must look neat and tidy. Hide food and drink under the table to behind signs. A cloth that reaches the floor hides empty boxes or other paraphernalia. Easels change the table appearance. Instead of books lying flat, standing them up not only catches the eye, but allows some to be placed closer to the front of the table. (Buy me, it whispers. Buy me.)

And don’t forget some initial reason to bring the people to the table to talk to you. There are pros and cons to candy. At the Spirit of the Jerseys, a hanging panel picturing the various projects of the Matawan Historical Society brought people to the table. Some liked the image of the old cemetery stone, while the gateman’s shanty triggered reminiscences for others.

One final tip. Have a tablemate or wingman. They can keep an eye on stock, allow for a bathroom break, and makes a table or booth look busy. (People tend to come to busier booths than empty ones.)

Don’t forget snacks and drinks to help keep your energy level up. Appropriate clothing and shelter. Especially important for outside venues as you can see from the blankets used to ward off the chilly rain that haunted the morning during the Spirit of the Jerseys.

~Till next time. Happy Sales. Helen


Memorial Day, 2015

A tribute to those who served and made the ultimate sacrifice for home and hearth.

The StatueDoughboy

There is a statue in our town
Of a man with his fist in the air.
I never really understood
Who he was or who put him there.

Until one day my grandmother
Took me to the park.
She stopped before the statue
And stood quietly in the deepening dark.

Her head was bowed as if in prayer
Yet no words did she speak.
Then she whispered quietly,
Father, meet my granddaughter, Marie.

Your great-grandfather was a soldier
She said quietly to me.
This statue honors all like him
Who fell in battles far across the sea.

Although the light was fading fast
From the plaques she read these words,
“Remember the Fallen Heroes”
In a voice that was barely heard.

I pointed to the other plaques —
Where World War II, Korea, and Vietnam appeared.
Grandmother answered simply,
“The dead of other battles are also honored here.”

For the first time I really saw him,
The statue in the park.
His youthful face was grim.
As he stood amidst barbed wire.

Now I’m explaining to my daughter.
And I hope she understands.
About the sacrifices of the soldiers.
And why, in the park is a statue of a man.

~Till next time. thank you for your service.