Oh, Maurice Sendak.
I read his books, of course, but to be honest I don't remember all that much about them. What I do remember is Sendak as a crotchety bookstore patron -- and I mean that in a good way.
The first bookstore I worked at was Sendak's local. He wasn't a frequent visitor, but he came in several times while I was behind the counter. Not that I ever spoke to him -- I don't remember him interacting with the staff at all.
(Note to authors who are not Maurice Sendak: Do not interpret that as advice. You should continue to be polite to the booksellers you meet. If you can manage charming, that scores you even more points.)
So Sendak, whenever I encountered him, was usually pretty quiet, with the possible addition of some grumbling.
Except for one time.
Sendak was in the children's section, in the back of the store, when another customer recognized him. (I suppose I should refer to her as the other customer -- it was late, and the store was empty.)
From my spot at the front counter, I could overhear bits and pieces of the conversation. And it was a conversation, not just a fan meeting an idol. There was even laughter, lots of it, on both sides.
The woman, it turned out, had grown up in the same Brooklyn neighborhood as Sendak. They'd never met before, but that was enough of a commonality, and they started trading stories, sharing memories, having a little reunion.
It was a good ten or fifteen minutes before Sendak left the store, and he went out, as usual, without a glance at the booksellers.
And I loved him for it.