Thanks for the Memories
In the afternoon we’ll say goodbye to one of the first friends we accumulated here in the mountains in 2000. Larry was a golfing friend and when I opened my dog park, he and his two Cairn terriers were among the first members. One day at the dog park I told another friend that I had just finished writing my first book. I didn’t have any idea what to do with it, but there it was. Larry was sitting on the picnic table with his dogs, listening.
“Send it to my sister,” he said. We laughed.
“Sure. And why would I send it to your sister?”
“Because, that’s what she does. She reads stuff people write.”
“Your sister is an editor? But, she probably doesn’t want unsolicited, unagented manuscripts.” (I didn’t know much, but I’d already learned that part!)
“Tell her I sent you. Tell her I want her to read it. She’ll do anything for me.”
The next day at the dog park a recipe card was clipped to the fence with a clip clothespin. It was our unique message system at the dog park. The note was for me. It was a name and address in London, along with the message: SEND IT. It took me a few days to build up courage, but eventually I sent it. His sister spent the next two years mentoring me, teaching me everything from how to edit on the computer to how to recognize misplaced modifiers. I learned the equivalent of an advanced writing degree from her! Her agents loved my “stuff” and took it to the Children’s Book Fair in Bologna.
Because of Larry, I got a start. There isn’t a way to say enough thank yous for that leg up, but what I can do, is what he and his sister taught me to do: help others get started. Thank you, Larry. Rest in peace, my friend. In this life, where much went wrong, you did something kind for me. That’s the way I will remember you.