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Dedication set at Seerley Park featuring Nancy Price, Rex Pershing

Dedication set at Seerley Park featuring Nancy Price, Rex Pershing

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CEDAR FALLS — On Friday, a free book exchange box, new benches and a picnic table will be dedicated at an event featuring food, beverages and fun at Seerley Park.

The event begins at 5 p.m., with a brief dedication ceremony at 5:15 p.m.

The book exchange box was built and presented by Dr. Rex Pershing, who is in his 80s, and the benches and picnic table were gifts from best-selling author Nancy Price, 94. Both Pershing and Price will be present for the dedication, and short passages will be read aloud from Price’s books featuring scenes from Seerley Park.

Price said she is honored to have “the big park stone, bearing the names of some of my books, and part of my words about Seerley Park from my next book, the table and benches and the free library in Seerley Park. We looked across the street to that park for many years as we raised our family at 2309 Iowa Street.”

Price has written more than a dozen novels to date, including five set in Cedar Falls. She will read a short Seerley Park scene from her latest novel, “The Woman Who Slept With the Enemy.” A sequel to her famous novel, “Sleeping with the Enemy, released in 1987, the new book features two dozen pen-and-ink illustrations by Price.

“Sleeping with the Enemy” was made into the 1991 movie starring Julia Roberts.

“By the strangest twist of fate,” Price had just completed the sequel when she learned that Fox Searchlight Pictures is planning to release a remake of the film, “Sleeping with the Enemy.” Nia DaCosta (“Little Woods” and “Candyman”) is named as the writer/director.

Many of the book’s scenes were set on the park’s east side, but the movie itself was filmed in South Carolina.

Pershing is a professor emeritus at the University of Northern Iowa where he taught in the industrial technology department. He retired in 1992.

“That’s my first love in life, to work with wood,” said Pershing, 88, who was asked to build the box. He worked on the project off-and-on for several weeks, building the library from red oak, western cedar and marine plywood. A metal roof will keep the books inside safe from weather.

“It was a labor of love,” Pershing said. He and his wife Barbara raised their five kids in a house on Iowa Street. “They lived in the park. At one time, there were 40 or more kids within a five-block area who played in that park. It was a great neighborhood.”

Rain date is 5 p.m. Oct. 13.

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