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My Mary Poppins – Story Honoring Amy Hearn

FIRST PLACE WINNER mary-poppings
Katie Adkins, Senior, Milan High School

My Mary Poppins
Imagine a lady on the back of a motorcycle with her bright blonde hair blowing in the wind, with a smile that means she’s ready for anything life throws at her. Oh yeah, and she’s almost sixty. Doesn’t seem to fit together does it? Just wait. There’s more. She also works as a librarian at a small town high school. How can a lady who’s almost sixty, a librarian, and a hardcore biker all be the same person? Well my librarian, Mrs. Amy Hearn, isn’t your typical bookkeeper. Let’s just say she takes the Reading Rainbow theme song literally. “Butterfly in the sky, I can go twice as high. Take a look it’s in a book – Reading Rainbow. I can be anything!” Mrs. Hearn believes that books can take one anywhere, and she encourages readers to take adventures in the realities of their own lives.
As soon as a student aimlessly walks into the library, Mrs. Hearn enthusiastically accepts her “new mission impossible.” In her mind, she is dressed in all black and equipped with the most modern S.W.A.T. team gear to fulfill her task. She finds her target and asks the student in a hushed whisper, “Can I help you find a book?” However, these are just code words for, “Which adventure do you wish to embark upon?” Whether she sees herself as a secret agent on a valuable mission, or some other form of fantastical character, Mrs. Hearn knows how to find thrilling adventures in the pages of a book. After all, according to Reading Rainbow, a book can “take you anywhere and you can be absolutely anything.” Mrs. Hearn takes this to heart, and her aspiration is to make this truth as real to her students as it is to her.
How can this woman have such a vivid imagination? The only way one can – by reading. And let me tell you, Mrs. Hearn has read a lot of books. This is what makes her superbly fit for her job. She doesn’t give students false advice, but instead shares her immense knowledge of the shelves surrounding her. As a student myself, when I enter the library, I immediately seek out Mrs. Hearn whom I consider my personal Mary Poppins.
As soon as I enter the double doors to her magical land, she is suddenly already beside me, offering her services. Though she is able to convert from one fantastical character to another like a chameleon, Mary Poppins is what suits her best. I know I can count on her to pull out endless suggestions for a good read from her bottomless carpetbag. I attempt to explain what kind of book I am searching for while the library transforms into a “jolly holiday” with Mrs. Hearn as she merrily skips to a section in the library. Right away, I know I’ve come to the right place. She drills me with questions in order to uncover the perfect book for me, and miraculously she always finds one.
At the same time, like Mary Poppins, Mrs. Hearn is not only helpful with my practical needs, but also with the ones beyond the surface. Not only is she involved with a student-librarian relationship, but also she is also concerned with students’ overall well being. She cleans off some of the soot covering us in order to let us breathe fresh air as we chimney sweep through life. She understands that we will accumulate dirt on our journey, and she is not afraid get a little dirty herself. Mrs. Hearn is genuinely concerned for every individual student. She makes an everlasting impression on the students she encounters due to her incredible compassion. I am eternally grateful for the interest she has shown in me. I have found a haven in her library due to her great care, and I feel like what happens in my life really matters to her. In a world full of people too busy to care, it’s such a relief to find someone like Mrs. Hearn. She encourages all of us to take risks and not only go on adventures in our minds, but also to venture out in life. Mrs. Hearn lives as eccentrically as the characters in her books and challenges students to break down the wall of ordinary in their own lives.
While Mrs. Hearn has time to assist students, she also is involved with many activities at school. Whether she is planning a literary lunch, being a part of a homecoming skit, or singing over the intercom, this woman never stops going. Nevertheless, she never complains about being too busy because she performs all these duties flawlessly. Her petite frame, dressed in chic attire, is constantly seen flitting around the school doing as much as possible. By supporting students through these means, she shows them that education can be creative and fun. We never know if there will be a bicycle covered in poems, a ladder suspended from the ceiling, or a table engulfed in Christmas lights in her library. Her energy and excitement about her surroundings is contagious, therefore students as well as fellow faculty members can’t help but catch her rare virus. With her signature, “Darlin’ can I help you?” her sweetness overflows like one of Mary Poppins’ spoonsful of sugar. Her character supplies a role model for everyone. She never says a negative word about anyone, is always seen with a smile, and is incredibly optimistic. Mrs. Hearn shows students that you can never get too old to be passionate about life and do what you love.
Mrs. Hearn’s unique personality is one I would love to copy and paste into my own genetics, and perhaps I can come close. My aspiration is to become just like her. She has helped me to see things in a new, colorful light. My motorcycling, Mary-Poppins-clone librarian inspires me to become a better person and take adventures in my life. She has shown me that with the imagination that only reading can give, life never gets boring.
Mrs. Hearn has influenced me along with the rest of my fellow students. This unbelievably brilliant and extraordinary woman has changed my life by giving me options I never thought were possible and by simply becoming my friend. Not many women can live up to the larger-than-life character of Mary Poppins, but somehow Mrs. Hearn does with flying rainbow colors. I believe that if I measured her, the measurement would read, Amy Hearn “practically perfect in every way.”