About twenty years ago (geez has it been that long!!!?) the director of adult education in my New York upstate county hired me as her executive secretary. At the time, I was dressed in muddy sweat pants and a tee-shirt with a little rip in the shoulder seam.
I had been unemployed for nearly a year and was attending job training through a government program. The thing about government programs is that they don't pay unemployment benefits if you don't show up for class.
I spent the morning with the house hunk under our double wide mobile home trying to repair a broken pipe. Suddenly I realized it was getting late, checked the time and knew if I was going to reach school in time to be counted for that day there was simply no time to change clothes. In this case, the money was far more important than my appearance. The hunk was on disability, I was on unemployment, and we had six people to support (teenagers and adults).
So off I went to school after a quick brush down. When I arrived my instructor told me about the job available downstairs in the adult education office. I ran down, picked up an application, went back upstairs to class and filled it out. Then at my instructor's urging, I took it back downstairs and turned it in, after asking about an appointment for an interview.
The gal that took my application, carried it into the director's office as though she might catch something contagious. She came back in a couple of minutes and said, "She'll see you now."
"I'm not dressed for an interview," I protested.
"She knows." I swear the woman was pretty sure I was a washout.
Anyway, there I sat in the director's office, fielding questions and discussing my qualifications. No one was more shocked than I was when she hired me. Later--much later--I asked her why she hired me. She smiled and said, "I knew anyone who could handle an interview under those conditions could handle whatever might come along in this office."
I held that position thirteen years until the house hunk was transferred to a different state. I've kept in touch over the years and when my first book, Dancer's Delight was contracted, she was one of the people that wished me well.
That was over two years ago. Imagine my surprise when I received a note from her this last week. "Dancer's Delight! I just finished your book and found it delightful. Such a creative storyline! A delightful read."
The next day, I received another message..."I’m just mad at myself for taking so long to buy one of your books. I seldom go to the bookstore except in an airport, when we are going on a trip. My mother and I exchange books frequently so she keeps me stocked! Then I was afraid of ordering on line as I didn’t want to get hit with lots of junk e-mail…. Anyway, I loved it and will read another of yours soon, I am sure.
I’m so proud to know I personally know an author!"
I love receiving fan mail from all my readers, but this one was special. This was from a former boss whose opinion I strongly respect. So yeah... this was EXCELLENT!
How about you? What's you're favorite review or fan letter story?