"The Spiritual Staircase — Chapters One and Two"

Friday, March 20th, 2020. 3:45 PM. The First Full Day of Spring.

There was a Post on Facebook recently by Paul Deshaies concerning a former outpost of our hometown library. And someone commented:

“Someone should write a book about the experience of walking up those creaky wooden steps of the Social Branch of the Harris Public Library: “The Mystery of the Spiritual Staircase.” Nancy Drew and Frank Hardy could work on that mystery together and, maybe, fall in love.”

A Tentative Story Premise: “A Young Nancy Drew and Frank Hardy Meet For the First Time at the Library – And What Happened Next . . . “

The following is an attempt to begin writing a romantic fantasy about that library staircase that many recall climbing to reach the second-floor landing where the library was located. The library had two rooms: one for children and one for adults.

Nancy and Frank just happened to meet at the landing at the top of the staircase. It was during a heatwave that romantic “Summer of ’74.” They were only 12 years old. Nancy’s dad being a lawyer gave Nancy a beautiful and powerful transistor radio for her April birthday. And Frank could hear the song that was playing on Nancy’s radio as she ascended the steps of that spiritual staircase.  It was the 12th of June; and the popular radio announcer, Salty Brine, of Rhode Island’s top radio station was playing Andy Williams’ song, “The Twelfth of Never” on the turntable at WPRO’s studio in Providence. Even though Frank was only 12 years old, the song touched his heart as he innocently watched the owner of that radio climbing those creaky stairs. Her hair was auburn and her young figure, athletic. Frank’s young heart was melting from the music he was hearing as Nancy reached the landing. He wanted to start a conversation with her; however he was feeling so emotional he couldn’t speak a word. Nancy stopped at the water fountain to quench her thirst. She wasn’t certain which room to enter; so, she turned to Frank: “Excuse me, please. Would you tell me which room has the Sherlock Holmes stories?” Frank replied, “I’m not sure; but I’d be happy to introduce you to Miss McDonald, the librarian.” Nancy responded, “Thank you. But, before going in to see her, I think I’ll just sit here on the top step for a few minutes and rest. It was such a long and winding walk to get here on this warm day. Would you be willing to sit with me for a while? My dad and I and our housekeeper just moved into Woonsocket last week; and we hardly know our way around town, yet.” Frank was happy for the opportunity to chat with Nancy. His heart was bubbling with enthusiasm even more than the water fountain. As they both sat down together, Nancy lowered the volume on her radio as the song continued to play softly. And for the remainder of the song they just sat quietly together and listened. Frank noticed that Nancy’s presence had a mysteriously calming effect upon his young heart. He had never felt so peaceful in all his life. He imagined that he would like to just sit there with Nancy and quietly listen to her music for the rest of his life.


Frank, in the stillness of his heart’s perfect peace in Nancy’s presence finally thought of something to ask her. It was about her words “a long and winding walk.”

Frank: “Nancy, how was it that your walk was long and winding?” Nancy replied, “Well, I wasn’t sure how to get here. I had never been to this library before. I was on Robinson Street and found this steep wooden staircase descending to the street below; so, I carefully came down that way. And then, I wasn’t sure which way to turn. And someone kindly gave me directions to cross a brook at Brook Street. And well, finally, I got here.”

And just then, another song began to play softly on Nancy’s radio: The Long and Winding Road with Lyrics

Chapter Two

Nancy’s Idea

As Nancy and Frank were sitting on the top step of the library’s spiritual staircase, Nancy suddenly had an idea. She turned to Frank and said, “Frank, instead of going into the library, I was wondering if you would walk with me to Social Park. I haven’t been there yet and would love to see it.”

Frank: “Sure Nancy. We can walk there. It’s only about a ten-minute walk from here. And there’s a coffee shop near it. I’d be happy to buy cold drinks for us, there. We could sit in the shop’s air-conditioning while enjoying our drinks; and then walk to the park where the pond is.”

Nancy: “OK, Frank.”

So, Nancy and Frank walked down the library’s spiritual staircase together; and began their first journey together: a walk to Social Park and Pond — with a preliminary stop for refreshment and cool drinks at the nearby coffee shop. As they were walking, Frank noticed that Nancy kept transferring her transistor radio from hand to hand. He understood it must have been heavy for her to carry, so he said: “Nancy, that is an interesting radio you have. I’ve never seen one just like it. I’d be pleased to carry it for you.”

Nancy: “And I’d be grateful if you would, Frank. I really enjoy listening to music and the news; however, it is tiresome to carry along with my pocketbook.” And so, she handed it to Frank.

They continued to walk together in silence for a few minutes; and then Nancy realized she wanted to say something to Frank. “Frank, I just have to tell you that I’m so happy that we met today. I don’t have a single friend yet in this, my new hometown.”

Frank: “I would be very honored, Nancy, to be your friend; and to help you in any way that you may have need of me.”

Nancy: “Thank you, Frank. I really appreciate your kindness and friendship.”

Frank: “It will always be my greatest pleasure, Nancy, to be your friend; and to give you all the help you need.”

And at the hearing of those words Nancy felt encouraged to take Frank’s free hand into hers. And a genuine smile naturally appeared on her face as she looked at Frank. And their eyes met. And at the touch of Nancy’s hand holding his, Frank suddenly felt something more than the perfect peace that Nancy’s presence had instilled in his heart on the library staircase. He had never felt this way before and didn’t understand what was happening.

Nancy: “Frank, may I hold the radio now? I suddenly have a need to listen to a song.”

So, Frank handed the radio back to Nancy as he was preoccupied with this new emotion he was feeling. And Nancy turned on the radio and a song began to play: “Sometimes when we touch the honesty’s too much and I have to close my eyes and hide. I want to hold you ‘till I die, ‘till we both break down and cry . . .”

Dan Hill – Sometimes When We Touch

Frank knew he had to say something. He couldn’t keep what was happening to him a secret. “Nancy, I really have to talk to you. Something I don’t understand is happening to me.”

Nancy: “What is it, Frank?”

Frank: “Emotions I never felt before.”

Nancy: “Why, Frank?”

Frank: “Well, it first began at the library as we were sitting down on the top step.”

Nancy: “What emotion did you feel then, Frank?”

Frank: “I felt perfect peace as I was sitting beside you, Nancy. I realized it had something to do with being in your presence.”

Nancy: “And what emotion are you feeling now as we are walking together, Frank?”

Frank: “Well, as soon as you clasped my hand into yours, I began to feel as if something inside me was just melting away.”

Nancy: “Are you going to be OK, Frank? Do you still want to have a cold drink at the coffee shop?”

Frank: “Yes, that might be just the thing to calm me down – and cool me off. Maybe we should just buy the drinks and take them with us into the Park. And just sit down outside on a park bench for a while.”

Nancy: “OK, Frank.”

So they entered the shop and bought their cold drinks and walked to the park and sat down on a bench.

Frank: “Nancy, would you turn on the radio again?”

Nancy: “Why, Frank?”

Frank: “I’d like to hear a song, please.” So, Nancy turned on her radio; and Bob Dylan was suddenly

singing a song:

Bob Dylan – Mr. Tambourine Man (Audio)

Mr. Tambourine Man (Live at the Newport Folk Festival. 1964)

When the song ended Nancy looked at Frank’s face and asked: “Frank, how are you feeling now?”

Frank took a deep breath and sighed. “OK, I guess.”

Nancy: “Really Frank . . .  you’re feeling OK?”

Frank: “I’ll be OK.”

Nancy: “I wish I could understand better what that emotion was that affected you, Frank, before we reached the coffee shop.”

Frank: “Nancy, I know we’re only twelve years old . . . we’re just kids . . . we haven’t even become teenagers yet; but . . .”

Nancy: “But what, Frank?”

Frank: “Nancy, could I be falling in love with you?”

Nancy: “Falling in love . . .  with me? . . .  at 12 years old? I don’t know.” And Nancy, feeling at a loss for words, turned the radio on again. And another song was playing: “Don’t Know Much About History.”

Don´t know much about history

After the song ended, Nancy was in deep thought for a while; and then she said to Frank: “This radio seems so strange to me today.”

Frank: “What do you mean, Nancy?”

Nancy: “Well, it seems that every song we’re hearing from it is so timely . . . so appropriate to what is happening with us, Frank. It’s like we’re in The Twilight Zone; or, as if this radio is somehow connected to The Twilight Zone. Maybe, if I tune to a different frequency, things will be different.” So, Nancy found another station. It was a Christian radio station; and a sermon had just ended; and a song began to play.

God Moves in A Mysterious Way with Lyrics

Nancy: “It still seems like we’re in The Twilight Zone.”

Frank: “Why, Nancy?”

Nancy: “Did you notice the mention of providence in that song, Frank?”

Frank: “Yes.”

Nancy: “Isn’t the capital of Rhode Island, Providence?”

Frank: “Yes, it is.”

Nancy: “And doesn’t the word providence mean “divine guidance or care. God conceived as the power sustaining and guiding human destiny” [Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary – Eleventh Edition]?

Frank: “Yes.”

Nancy: “I believe that God brought us together, today, Frank – for His purposes.”

Frank: “And what might those purposes be, Nancy?”

Nancy: “I don’t exactly know, Frank; but, I hope they have to do with love. Isn’t God Love, Frank? Isn’t that what Holy Scripture tells us?”

Frank: “Yes, He is.”

Nancy: “Frank?”

Frank: “Yes, Nancy?”

Nancy: “This day is unfolding in a very special way. It seems that something very unusual is happening to me.”

Frank: “And what is it, Nancy?”

Nancy: “I believe our lives are being joined together, Frank.”

Frank: “Joined together? By Who, Nancy?”

Nancy: “By God, Who is Love. Does that seem good to you, Frank?”

Frank: “Yes, it does, Nancy.”

Nancy: “Frank, would you please kiss me?”

So, Frank kissed Nancy — gently. And then Nancy said: “Frank, would you kiss me, again?” So, Frank kissed Nancy, again. And Nancy sighed. And then she said, “Frank, this is how to kiss me.” And she kissed Frank for several long continuous moments.

Frank: “Nancy, something is happening again; my heart is melting even more than when you took my hand into yours as we were walking together.”

Nancy: “So is mine, Frank.”

Frank: “Why is this happening to us, Nancy?”

Nancy: “I believe Love requires hearts to be changed, Frank.”

Frank: “How do you know this, Nancy?”

Nancy: “I don’t know. Maybe it isn’t a matter of knowing; but, rather, of believing.”

Frank: “I believe that is true.”

Nancy: “I believe I’m falling in love with you, Frank.”

Frank: “That must be why I felt something inside of me was melting away as we were walking together on Social Street.  And it happened on the 12th of June, Nancy. And the first song we ever heard together was, “The Twelfth of Never” as you were walking up the spiritual staircase of the library. And I was seeing you for the first time in my life of only twelve years.”

Nancy: “I’m also twelve years old, Frank.”

Frank: “I wonder how many other things about us are in harmony.”

Nancy: “I don’t know; but I hope in God our Savior that He will allow us to spend the rest of our lives together finding out, Frank. And I’m so thankful to Him for bringing us together in Woonsocket today.”

Frank: “I’m thankful to God, also, Nancy. And that reminds me of a Scripture that makes me think of Woonsocket.”

Nancy: “What Scripture are you thinking of, Frank.”

Frank: “It’s in the first chapter of the gospel according to John where Jesus is calling some to follow Him.”

“The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.” Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. Philip found Nathaniel and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathaniel asked.”

“Come and see,” said Philip.” -John 1:43-46. NIV.

Nancy: “And how do those Scriptures make you think of Woonsocket, Frank?”

Frank: “Well, whenever I read that, I think: Can anything good come from Woonsocket?”

Nancy: “And what is the answer to that question, Frank?”

Frank: “Come and see – and please don’t call it Woonie.”

Nancy: “Is that what some people call Woonsocket?”

Frank: “Yes.”

Nancy: “And you don’t like that?”

Frank: “It sounds dishonorable to me — like calling the queen of corona, queenie.”

Nancy: “Maybe, to them, it isn’t dishonorable.”

Frank: “What else could it be?”

Nancy: “I don’t know; but often it happens when we love someone, we just call them by a term of endearment – like calling someone Honey, or Darling, I suppose. Maybe you just need to lighten up, Frank. Maybe the melting of our hearts in love will allow us to begin seeing things in a kinder and gentler and more forgiving light.”

Frank: “Jesus did say that with God all things are possible; so, I believe that what you just said, Nancy, is possible — seeing things in a kinder, gentler and more forgiving light. I still don’t like queenie for queen nor Woonie for Woonsocket, though; those terms don’t sound kind.”

Nancy: “God help us to find out – together, Frank, that indeed all things are possible with God – Who IS Love and Light and Spirit!”

Frank: “Amen.”

Nancy: “Who is the queen of corona, Frank?”

Frank: “I don’t know any more about her than what I heard in Paul Simon’s song: something about Rosie, the queen of Corona.”

Paul Simon – Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (Official Video)

The Rose (Preview page 1)

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