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East Hampton Library Finds ‘Mi hija’ Poet

Thu, 05/23/2024 - 10:47
Carmen Quintuña and her daughter Samantha were reunited this week with a poem penned by Ms. Quintuña that had been left in an East Hampton Library book.
Cassie Gurge

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Last month a poem was discovered inside a children’s book in the East Hampton Library titled “Para mi hija Samantha.” With no other information to go on besides the name of the mother-daughter duo, Carmen and Samantha, the library turned to social media to get the word out and find them. On Sunday that search came to an end.

Carmen Quintuña of Sag Harbor and her daughter Samantha were reunited with the poem at the East Hampton Library on Sunday afternoon. According to Cassie Gurge, the young adult librarian, the reunion was a joyous one. Carmen “was extremely happy and grateful that we were able to find the poem, take care of it, and get it back to them safely.”

Ms. Gurge was working in the young adult section on Sunday when she got a call from the circulation desk that Carmen and Samantha had arrived. With an assist from the librarian trainee Nick Flickinger they were able to return the poem as well as take a quick picture with the two of them to post on the library’s Instagram to announce the end of the search. Ms. Quintuña had learned while at work that the library had found the poem. “My manager showed it to me on Instagram,” she said. “I was shy to go but finally on Sunday I went in.”

One of the reasons the poem garnered so much attention from the library staff originally was its earnestness and heart. When it was discovered and shared online by the staff it was seen as an expression of love from a mother to a daughter. This particular poem that Ms. Quintuña wrote grew out of a moment of tenderness. “One day I was sitting with my husband at the dinner table,” she said, “and she [Samantha] fell asleep and I saw her while she was sleeping and that inspired me.”

“I usually will write notes for my daughters; I have two,” Ms. Quintuña said, noting that the one left in the book was from about three months ago. “I put the note in the book while she was reading it,” she said. “We didn’t realize it was still in there.” That simple act led to a townwide search to return the note to its original writer.

As for how this experience left her, Ms. Quintuña said, “I was unsure about going but I went and it was amazing; that’s the perfect word.”

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