Living Dangerously with My Dover Library Grab Bag

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Susan Dromey Heeter photo

From my Dover Public Library Book Sale grab bag


I muse joyfully on taking risks, on living in the moment, on good surprises.  At the Dover Library Book Sale, I put my confidence in those who orchestrated this yearly event, who sorted through books and media and created the oh so wonderful and oh so uncertain: Grab Bag.

I bought three grab bags; at five bucks a piece I could not resist.  One was adult non-fiction (I laughed and asked if it was porno, it was not), another, DVDs, the third were audio books.  

And, upon opening up my treasures, I found, in the bag of DVDs the first season of Dragnet.

Susan Dromey Heeter

Dragnet,  for anyone under fifty, is the black and white detective show based in Los Angeles starring Jack Webb aka Joe Friday.  I vaguely remember it, it was startling, a little Perry Masonish, a little gloomy for my single digit self.  I remember watching it on that enormous television we had growing up – with three channels and two others that were fuzzy but worked in a pinch.

And Jack Webb would simply say, “Just the facts.”  It’s a line that has stayed with me for decades. What are the facts?

The facts are that I may grow desperate enough this Covid Winter to watch Dragnet, to watch men in suits and fedoras solve crimes, look with disdain upon crooks, thieves, ne’er do wells.  I don’t believe Joe Friday ever laughed, ever smiled.  I think of him smoking a lot; intimidating those he interrogated.  He was nothing if not persistent, seriously determined.

He was dark.

And, as I write this, perhaps I will not allow the darkness of Dragnet to invade my Covid Winter; perhaps I’ll peruse the Grab Bag to see what other distractions I may find.

OH!  There is Behind the Battle of the Apes where “Host Roddy McDowell takes you from production meetings to makeup sessions, then right on the movie set to see the actual filming of his science fiction masterpiece.”  THAT might be a great distraction for a cold November night.  How DID they get all that makeup on?  What was Charleton Heston like at those production meetings?

And then there are the first seasons of Rome, a series highlighting the year 52 B.C.  Maybe things were better then, perhaps easier, lighter.  I’ll find my DVD player and find out.

Finally, another of my Grab Bag choices is the Bob Newhart Show, the first season.  Bob might be a good reprieve from the other DVDs, a little levity for darkness, a little humor and silliness are never a bag idea.

And a Grab Bag?  It’s good to have some surprises, some tangible reminders that we are not in control of much these days but we can certainly do well with what heads our way.

I muse joyfully you’ll find a Grab Bag that brings you joy, brings you levity, and perhaps brings you insight into the making of the Planet of the Apes.

Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. 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.

The opinions expressed are those of the writer. takes no position on politics, but welcomes diverse opinions. email

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