Greetings to all. Shirley and I had an excellent visit to Mother Theresa School in Bradford, hosted by teacher-librarian Liz DeSousa. The students in one class had all read Leaving Fletchville and had excellent questions about the plot development, the characters and especially the ending. I have been asked why I ended the story in an unbelievable way and my answer is always the same; the ending is actually the most remarkable part of the story because that part is true. A girl in Montreal, whose parents were alcoholics, actually ran off with her younger siblings and set up housekeeping in Toronto. She did any mother proud, caring for them, making sure they were well-dressed, well-fed, got to bed on time and did their homework. Although she was still underage when she was 'caught', she was awarded custody, with assistance from the officials... That is the core of the 'Leon' story. The rest of the story comes from bits & pieces of 27 years' of teaching. Students bought a number of books, both of Leaving Fletchville and Canadian Disasters. It frustrates me that Chapters stores and other chain stores will only stock books for a month or two before sending them back to the publisher. Canadians especially lose when the only selection of books are the 'bestsellers' decided on by US readers, not local readers.
Enough of my rant! We had an excellent time in Bradford. A big thank you for the coffee mug, and the Tim Horton's gift card. Both were in use before the day was out!
Later that day we visited my brother Werner in nearby Tottenham. Werner is a sculptor and usually creates out of metal, which is probably genetic because Schmidt = smith = metal worker and two of the three Schmidt brothers have earned their livings working with metal. I am the black (wooden?) sheep, preferring to work with wood rather than metal. Not that I have any special talent in woodworking (I don't). The eagle sculpture is currently in pieces, a victim of a windstorm. Local residents want it back up. "...turn right two houses past the eagle..."
(Werner Schmidt's three metre tall eagle in Tottenham)