When I first started writing, it was by hand on a yellow pad, often in the lower galley of a DC10 flight to London. I was a Pan Am flight attendant and senior enough to hold the galley position away from the passengers.
Recently, I've been entering some of my early stories into the computer, mostly ones I wrote for the now defunct Miami News. Oddly, I wrote these long before it dawned on me that my job was to write about kids and their special relationships with animals.
The Birthday Party
When I lived in
, I was on the Board of the Tropical Audubon Society, which sponsored educational programs in the Miami schools. I often trooped along with our educational director, David Hitzig, to watch him teach the children about our Dade County South Florida animals.
In addition to traveling daily to schools throughout the county, Hitzig also turned birthday parties at TAS’ Doc Thomas House into a learning experience.
The children at one party I attended ranged in age from 4 to 7. Hitzig showed them a Red-eared slider turtle, a corn snake, an alligator, and Misty, the cross-eyed opossum. The children were encouraged to pet all the animals, and loved to put their hands in Misty’s pouch.
This particular day, David was putting Misty back in her carry-cage, when I heard a little boy whisper to the child on the bench next to him, “The bald-headed eagle is next!”
|Baby Red-eared Slider|
Hitzig told them about eagles being the symbol of our country. He held Peace high above their heads, then lowered his arm so that Peace, for balance, spread her one full wing and the stump of her other wing.
“Did everyone see that she has only one wing?” Hitzig asked.
They nodded solemnly. Peace folded her wing and the stub and glared down at them.
They all sat quietly for a moment and looked sadly up at the eagle. “Poor Peace,” a child said.