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An East Hampton Mother's Day Mystery

Thu, 05/09/2024 - 10:48

Who wrote the poem found in library book?

A mother named Carmen handwrote a poem in Spanish to her daughter, Samantha. A library patron found it tucked into a children’s book last month.
Christine Sampson

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The East Hampton Library has a Mother’s Day mystery on its hands.

On April 22, a library patron discovered a poem, neatly handwritten in Spanish and tucked into the pages of a children’s picture book, and took it over to the children’s librarians. The poem piqued their attention. Who is this mysterious mother-daughter duo, known only by their first names, Carmen and Samantha?

“We find a lot of receipts and weird stuff that people use as bookmarks, but this is the first time I’ve seen something sentimental like this,” said Nick Flickinger, a librarian trainee in the children’s program.

Two days after it was discovered, Mr. Flickinger and his colleagues posted the poem on social media. “Help us celebrate National Poetry Month by finding Samantha and Carmen!” the library implored on Instagram.

Poetry month (April) came and went, but now, Mother’s Day is upon us. “It would be so cool to return it to them in time for Mother’s Day,” Mr. Flickinger said.

He said he and his colleagues turned to social media because the library’s electronic cataloging system is limited in its capability to search check-out histories. Complicating the search, too, is that no one remembers the title of the book in which the poem was found. Also, Carmen and Samantha could be from anywhere in the library district — East Hampton, Springs, and Wainscott — or even from elsewhere in Suffolk County, as books come and go on interlibrary loan fairly often.

“A few people came up to us to tell us they saw it on Instagram and loved it, but they didn’t have any information that we can use to find Carmen and Samantha,” Mr. Flickinger said.

The poem is titled “Para Mi Hija Samantha,” meaning “For My Daughter Samantha.”

“Ya eres una nina grandecita / eres lo mas hermoso que me ha pasado en la vida,” Carmen wrote. According to Google translate, this means “You are now a big girl / you are the most beautiful thing that has happened to me in my life.”

The poem continues, “Has crecido muy rapido / me haces sentir la mama mas orgullosa de este mundo.” This means, “You have grown up very quickly/ you make me feel like the proudest mom in this world.”

After translating the poem, Mr. Flickinger reflected on its meaning. “This could have been something Carmen wrote to her baby, who couldn’t hear it yet with ears that could understand it,” he said.

A few touching lines later, it includes, “Te amo con todo mi ser,” — “I love you with all my being.”

The librarians haven’t given up hope that they will find Carmen and Samantha and return their lost poem.

“We’re hoping it gets some exposure,” Mr. Flickinger said. “Maybe a new group of eyes that don’t come to our Instagram or Facebook page will see it. The hope is someone out there knows a mother and daughter with these names.”

Anyone with a helpful suggestion to share — or Carmen and Samantha themselves, of course — is asked to call the library at 631-324-0222.

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