Lakeside read-in fulfills wish of late actress, 12
Avid reader Heather O'Rourke honored in school programs
Evening Tribune (San Diego, CA)
February 22, 1988
Author: Tom Hays; Tribune Staff Writer
A book titled "Soup" probably is not what a girl hooked on romance novels would have picked.
But Friday, Lakeside firefighter Kevin Howe read "Soup" to a fourth-grade class at Riverview Elementary School to honor that girl -- Heather O'Rourke -- and promote one of her favorite pastimes.
The 12-year-old O'Rourke, a TV and movie actress from Lakeside, died this month from an intestinal illness.
As part of the Heather O'Rourke Memorial Lakeside Union School District Community Read-In, Howe and 50 other community members visited several Lakeside schools at the invitation of the Literary Club of Tierra del Sol Middle School.
"I'm still on call," Howe, 36, told Riverview listeners as his walkie-talkie chattered in the background. "If I have to drop everything, it doesn't mean I don't like you."
Howe made it through an animated reading of a chapter about a boy nicknamed Soup who breaks a church window and puts the blame on a friend. His audience was captivated.
"He's the best reader we've had," said teacher Shirley Spielman.
O'Rourke, known to movie patrons as Carol Ann in "Poltergeist," was remembered Friday not as an actress, but an avid reader.
"She had about a million books at home," said Susie Fredrickson, 12, who was O'Rourke's classmate and fellow Literary Club member at Tierra del Sol.
The school's librarian, Sandy Gonnerman, said O'Rourke read "voraciously," especially historical romance novels.
Before her death, O'Rourke had helped plan the read-in, inviting school board members, politicians and other community members to spend a few minutes in Lakeside classrooms reading their favorite books, Gonnerman said.
"She would have been here," said club President Kim Lybrano, 13, while standing outside the classroom where Howe read. "She really put a lot of effort into this."
REMEMBERING ACTRESS, CLASSMATE AND AVID READER, Lakeside firefighter Kevin Howe reads to Riverview Elementary pupils
Tribune photo by Joe Holly