Yesterday I spent an hour or so at Sunnyland Elementary, in Bellingham, Washington where I attended part of 4th grade and maybe 3rd grade but neither my mom nor I can remember for sure. (We moved around a lot). At any rate, I was there because Brian Pahl’s 3rd grade class read Hattie Big Sky and sent me a packet of swell letters and an invitation to visit. Since I was going to be in the area anyway to present the keynote speech for Western Washington University’s Scholar’s Week Banquet (I’m an alumna; class of 76, back when it was still a state college), I said yes.
Also, I said yes because of this letter from Jade, which says, “I hope you can come to our class some day.” I’ll let you count the exclamation points.
This was only one of many that greeted me
The kids had a passel of questions for me, ranging from “Is it fun to be a writer?” to “Who was your favorite character?” to “Will you write another book about Hattie?” I answered their great questions as best I could, then shared with them part of my report card from when I was at Sunnyland. My teacher was Mrs. Rockey who wrote that “the world of books and stories is so fascinating to Kirby that she finds it hard to resist the temptation of reading when, perhaps, she should be taking more time with her work.” She also didn’t think much of my penmanship but concluded that I was “very dependable.”
Mr. Pahl’s amazing Room 12. . .with baby Luna Pahl, too!
As I shared with the kids, the only things I truly remember about attending Sunnyland was getting my first bee sting as I was crossing the monkey bars on the playground and the SRA reading program, reading through levels indicated by different colors. No one told us but we all knew aqua was the best (at least that’s my memory!) and so I always hurried through the stories in the other colored folders so I could get to the aquas.
One of the best parts of the day was getting to take my mom along! She confessed to getting teary to hear me talk about my grandma (her mom) and how important she was to me. And in her inimitable Mom fashion, wanted to take all those sweethearts home with her. Including Mr. Pahl!
I bade a reluctant farewell to my friends at Sunnyland and dropped Mom off at home. Then I checked in to the Chrysalis Inn, to briefly enjoy this view before heading off to Western Washington University to talk to a group from the North Sound Reading Council.