What you’re looking at here is one of the most important artifacts of my life. I have had it with me as long as I’ve lived on my own, and even while it languished in a box in my parents’ basement it was never forgotten.
It’s a classic scenario, probably as common today as it was thirtyish years ago—at the end of the school year the teacher handed out awards to every student. Mrs. G gave out the usual awards—class clown, best smile, most helpful—but she also made some bold predictions.
And in mine, she changed my life.
I received the “Future Author Award” that Spring day, and from that day forward whenever anyone asked me the perennial and horrid question “what do you want to be when you grow up,” I answered without hesitation: “author.”
(Astronaut remained a very popular answer, but I knew deep inside I would write stories long before I would ever leave Earth.)
I’m sure my parents had impressed the idea upon me at some point early on. They still talk about the “amazing” stories I would tell them while I took my bath (apparently a family tradition; my own daughter delivers some pretty wonderful narratives during her own bath times), and we lived in a house full of books. Sure, it would have happened in any case.
But the Future Author Award made it real.
Of course I would write books (or ads, or marketing brochures, or essays, or a blog). I had a blue ribbon that made it so.
I wish I could remember why Mrs. G had such confidence in my literary future; the reason for her prophecy is lost to my memory. But I’ve never forgotten the gesture. There’s a part of me that wants to do everything I can to make sure I don’t let that faith be misplaced, and to fulfill the destiny that was given me in a partitioned classroom on the last day of school.
I wonder if anyone else from that class has kept theirs, or if it means as much to them as mine does to me.