I credit my first grade teacher, Mrs. Greta Lipson of Oxford Elementary School in Berkley, MI, with planting the desire in me to be a writer. It was in first grade that I was invited to represent my class at a Young Author's Conference run by the local university - a big hoo-ha that involved a day off of school, a lot of attention, and free cookies. If it weren't for Mrs. Lipson's enthusiasm, (and those cookies) I wonder if I'd have set on this particular path in life.
Today, I wrote her a letter of thanks, and then tried to find her on the Internet so I could send it to her (along with a copy of my novel).
Amazingly, I found a Greta Lipson almost right away: someone who looks very much like I remembered her looking (40 years ago!), based in Michigan, and author of many books on teaching and getting kids excited about writing and reading.
Hmm. How is it possible that - living in a little suburb of Detroit, MI - I'd stumble across an expert in the field of writing as a primary school teacher? Fate is a funny thing. I wonder if she'd been an expert in the field of medicine if I'd be doing open heart surgery right now instead of writing. I doubt she had any idea the impact she made on me.
Anyway, a book - and a heart-felt note of thanks - are on their way to her.