I don’t think I’d be a writer today if it wasn’t for my fifth grade teacher Miss Kreschenko at Gardiners Avenue Elementary School in Levittown, Long Island. Or as I used to say “Lawn Guyland.”
Miss Kreschenko marched into class and announced that we had a project to finish for the end of the year. We had to write a 20 page book, typed, that would be put into a class lending library. The book could be about anything and would not be graded. You just had to do it.
I’d always been a reader and I’d always had stories running through my head. I remember going to bed at night, making up some kind of tale or another about a handsome prince and the strong heroine who would save him. Yeah, even then it was all about romance and powerful women.
It had never occurred to me to actually take those stories and put them down on paper.
So I went home and started writing. Shortly before the work was due, my mom helped me type it up. All 120 pages of it!! I wish I knew where that original manuscript was, but I’m sure it got tossed with a lot of other stuff when my dad sold the house. 🙁
From that point on in my life, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Of course my immigrant parents had other ideas for me. While it took me some time to actually dedicate myself to getting published, I never stopped writing through elementary school, high school, college, law school and even after.
This is a picture of me in elementary school with my mom, sis and dad. Sis and I are holding bugles since back then we also took part in the Levittown Drum and Bugle Corps. I’m the one in the green flowered culotte thing.
My mom encouraged us to participate in as many things as we could. Music, sports, you name it. My family believed in education and the American Dream. It’s a big part of the reason my family moved to Levittown since back then it was affordable and had a good public school system.
I’m grateful to my family for making the effort on our behalf. I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for their hard work and support, especially my mom. She was my mom, mentor and best friend. I miss you, mom!