The Book of Life and Who Taught Me How To Read It

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Is that Sir Luc with Susan Dromey Heeter?

By Susan Dromey Heeter, Joyful Musings

As I write this week’s Joyful Musings, I am covering a high school class where students are taking a test using both their notes as well as open books.

It’s lovely to watch them engaged, flipping through pages, reading over their notes, deeply focused on finding the right answers.  And this week’s column has me thinking of where I go for answers, what and who are my open books?

I muse joyfully on flipping through my pages of notes and books and life experiences to know where to go for the best information.

When I need a good read, there is no one I’d rather go to than my friend Anne.  She’s either read or listened to all of the best sellers – and they are not necessarily classics.

Susan Dromey Heeter

Her latest was The Secrets of my Life by Katelyn Jenner. She said it was not entirely thrilling but she finished it quickly.  When I’m feeling overwhelmed, there’s nothing like an autobiography to read, to hide in someone else’s life.

I’ve read them all – from Loni Anderson to Katharine Graham to Kelsey Grammar. And Anne has read several as well – our book discussions, while never entirely intellectual can be fun and deeply silly.

We both read Steven Tyler’s Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? and, well, were astonished at his colorful and, um, interesting life.

My nephew Brian is the go-to person on anything movie related. He’s seen them all, generally at the theatre and does not wait for the DVD. I trust his judgement; he not only focuses on plot and characterization, but knows the directors and his/her repertoire of movies.

He’s a good go-to when it’s one of the few times I head to the movies, sit in an actual movie theatre. Again, I trust his judgement and after I’ve plunked down a pretty penny to watch a movie in a theatre, I’d rather not be disappointed. With Brian, I rarely am.

As far as health issues, my open books tend not to be the internet, but friends in the health field.  I’m grateful I have doctors, nurses, physician’s assistants I call friends and when I need a quick bit of advice, it’s to them I turn.  I am entirely grateful they are my open books, with so much knowledge and time spent in hospitals and the medical community, it’s their judgement I find the best.  And the bonus? When I talk to them about toenail fungus, it does not mean that suddenly I am inundated with ads for Lamisil.  That,  in and of itself,  is wonderful.

Finally, when I need help writing or anything journalism related, I turn to Nancy West, the founder of – she’s always positive, keeps things entirely simple – on occasion she will suggest a book to read, an author to contact, but for the most part, really encourages the trusting of the gut. And as I lift my head to check on the progress of my test taking students, I see them flipping and turning their pages, writing and erasing answers, utilizing their time well. I suspect they are checking both their notes and their books and ideally trusting their guts.  They know this stuff – or ultimately where to find the answers.

And I muse joyfully that you have your notes, your open books, your go-to people when you need the right answer…or at least answers your gut can trust.


Susan Dromey Heeter, a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white, writes “Joyful Musings” for Dromey Heeter is a secondary Spanish Teacher at Dover High School and the mother of two teenage daughters.  Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.  Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards. She also writes about thrift shopping and all things frugal  in a column called “Budget Vogue” for the New Hampshire Union Leader.

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