SUNFIELD, Mich. — At 20 years old, Dorothy Smith got swept up into a tornado of love.
“My mom grew up in Kansas, met her husband at the Army base, fell in love with him, and he convinced her to come back here and get married on her 20th birthday because he was not going to marry a teenager," said Dorothy's daughter Jackie Carr.
That love dropped her down in the small town of Sunfield, where she started a family and a new life.
“She had always said she wasn't going to be a farmer's wife," Carr said. "But she ended up being a very good farmer's wife, and she acclimated to Sunfield very well.”
A farmer's wife, and according to Lisa Bell, the director of the Sunfield District Library, a social butterfly.
“She would always come in with a twinkle in her eye and a smile, and you knew she was having a good day," Bell said. "If you weren't having a good day, she was quick to make you feel good.”
Dorothy left her mark everywhere. Bell described her as a "free spirit" in the community, especially at her favorite place, the library.
“In the beginning, it was a social thing, and it was she liked coming in picking up books, but towards the end of her life, it was her lifeline," Carr said. "She was home bound, she couldn't hear anymore, and so she relied on what she could read.”
Dorothy died in January at the age of 98, and while she left an impression on everyone she had met, Carr wanted to make sure that she lived on.
“I wanted my mom's life to count for something, and books were important to her," Carr said.
“We thought, Dorothy's Book Delivery, how cool would that be," Bell said.
Bell had an idea to use a tricycle for book delivery and pickup.
“There were people that could not come into the library, whether they were home bound or didn't have a vehicle or elderly didn't want to get out couldn't get out," Bell said. "I thought it was a perfect opportunity, and a good economical way for us to get books delivered to our community.”
Bell knew it was a perfect opportunity to honor Dorothy with a theme more fitting than she even realized.
“The more she talked, the more interested I got, and then, she mentioned that they were going to use the theme, Wizard of Oz," Carr said. "I said, 'Did you know my mom was from Kansas?' And she didn't.”
Complete with Toto up front and a house in the back, this tricycle is more than just a bike.
“She was so lonely in the last years of her life," Carr said. "Books meant so much, and this is a way that people will come in and check on people delivering books.”
So if you see the bike and Bell peddling down Main Street, remember Dorothy.
“My mother, when she met my dad, didn't know she would end up here, and that she ended up in Sunfield, Michigan, after coming from Kansas," Jackie said. "Now, at the end of her life, we brought some Kansas to Michigan.”
And the dreams you dare to dream really do come true.
“She'd be laughing Somewhere Over the Rainbow," Bell said.
Dorothy's Book Delivery and pickup service will begin Thursday, June 22. It will run every Thursday during library operation hours. If the weather is bad, Bell said they will still deliver and pickup library materials one way or another, it just might not be on the bike.
Anyone interested in the book delivery service can call the library at (517) 556-8065 for more information.
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