Book Returned to Walton School Library….50 Years Late!
Steve Rowell might have a tough time explaining why he needs an extension on a book report.
Rowell, who graduated from Walton CSD in 1968, recently returned a text book from his senior year – Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
“I’d like to tell you I was the best student – I was not,” Rowell said. “I’m not enamored by Shakespeare. I do enjoy poetry and prose and a good book now and then. When I was 18 years old, there were other things other than reading.”
The book turned up in a box of items Rowell has had from his parents’ old home.
Rowell grew up on Townsend Street, and after graduating, he left for Ohio for college. In the 1970s, his parents moved to another part of town, but kept his childhood home and during that time the bedroom never changed. The room was locked up and left alone until the home was sold in about 2009.
His mother, Doris, was the village clerk. His father, William, was a long-time worker at Agway.
“If they had wanted the book, they could have found it,” Rowell said.
Alas, the book went untouched for more than 50 years. When his parents passed, many boxes were taken and until recently, they had remained boxed up. The book sat in the Townsend Street home for nearly 45 years.
Rowell decided the spot for the book was back at Walton, so he sent it – along with a check for $100.
“We felt it belonged back there,” Rowell said. “I don’t know what else we could have done.”
As for the late fee, Rowell said he needed to send something.
“Now I’m beginning to think that’s a tiny amount for 50 years,” he said with a laugh. “I felt like something should be sent for years of loss. I don’t know if I felt any sense of guilt, but felt something needed to go back.”
Rowell, who is the president of Audio Classics in Vestal, said he’s a reader and still prefers the touch and smell of real books over digital. He often gifts books to local libraries and thought maybe this would be a good start to some sort of an amnesty program so others could send older books back to the school.
“It could give people a chance to send books back,” he said with a laugh.
The money from Rowell was donated to the high school library.