Lois Lowry's Blog


Apologies once again

Posted by Lois Lowry
Lois Lowry
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on Friday, 21 March 2008 in Uncategorized


Here are two pictures of my computer screen while it is showing an animated film of "Number the Stars" made by a schoolgirl named Shani in Woodside, California. The reason I have titled this post as an apology is because Shani sent me this film, and some books to be signed, MONTHS ago. She waited a while and then wrote politely to asked if I had received them...and I had to reply regretfully that I had not, that they had somehow been lost in the mail. Yesterday they arrived, forwarded from the publisher to whom she had sent them, along with a stack of other mail...some of it dating to August 2007.

I don't know really how to account for this, but here is my theory. Forwarding the mail is a boring job. It is given to some minor employee who is overworked and underpaid, and eventually that employee quits, leaving mountains of untended mail, maybe on a high shelf someplace, out of sight. Eventually someone says, "What's this dusty stuff?" and takes it down and deals with it. But in the meantime months have passed. Christmas gifts have gone unacknowledged. A young girl who spent hours making a film is led tp believe that it disappeared in the mail. Once, even, an invitation to dinner with the foreign minister of Denmark went unanswered because it didn't reach me until long after the dinner had been held.

And I don't have a solution, except once again to apologize to all those disappointed kids who never got a reply to letters they wrote to me last fall. Maybe if we all gather, en masse, with placards, and demonstrate? March on the palace? Send a petition? Whine in unison?

The Dalai Lama says to smile and think: I wish you happiness.

And I do. But I apologize as well. And I'd like to wring the neck of the person who thought that kids' letters were unimportant.

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Susan Monday, 29 November 1999

Thank you for sharing these stories. The one about your grandfather the banker reminded me of the scene in It's a Wonderful Life. He was obviously a good man who cared about his depositors. I, too, have been remembering some of the stories my grandmother told me (also from small town Wisconsin.) My grandmother and grandfather were teachers. When the banks failed, their rent check bounced (because the school's paycheck bounced) but their landlady let them stay in the house. It took a long time to straighten their finances out but I think they were lucky to have an understanding landlady who was willing to work with them. My great-grandparents were farmers and struggled to keep their farm going but finally one day just walked away from it, leaving everything behind. (My grandmother was most upset about them leaving the cows in the barn.) The neighboring farmer absorbed their land and stock.
Yes, times are scary, but I think the lesson from our parents and grandparents is that we will weather it.

S William Shaw Monday, 29 November 1999

Ah, cheesehead connections.
Living in Wisconsin, I am amazed at how much it is like a unique country. So many good Wisconsin stories.

Priscilla Monday, 29 November 1999

Fascinating story. I love stories...especially ones of history.
I am studying to be a school librarian. I found your blog through your website. I am currently taking a children's literature course. Of course I have been reading many books...some of them being yours. (Of course I read several of them before ever deciding to return to school for a masters degree)
My father was just visiting us last night for dinner. One of my daughters has one of the American Girl dolls. This particular doll's character is from the great depression period. She asked my father about that time. My father said, "Yeah. I'm a depression kid. But we were just kids and didn't understand what was going on. We had fun and kept living. We had no money, but didn't know anything different." My grandparents owned a farm. They somehow managed to get by in spite of the times. They never had much, but just enough to feed and clothe themselves. A blessing because many didn't have that much.

o. jimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

The interesting thing about these stories is that they are about immigrants. How they struggled to make the lives of their children better than theirs. I don't have to go as far as my grandparents to tell stories of strength and perseverance. My parents moved to this country when I was 14. Neither holds a High School diploma, in fact, my mom has a grade school education. Both my parents worked diligently thinking of their kids (my brother who is a physician, my sister who is an economist, and sometimes of me who became a journalist) Their motto was "never to mortgage your life" meaning don't live beyond your means and don't succumb to the "buy now and pay later" style of live this society is so used to. In the past few years the clamor to round up immigrants and "throw them out of the country" worries me and makes me want to remind all those against immigrants, that all they have to do is look back to their recent past and realize that we are sons and daughters of IMMIGRANTS, and we need tolerance when dealing with immigration issues.

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