This past week I heard from an old friend, Ann Porter Gifford, retired Professor of Education and Coordinator of Literacy at Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri and former president of Missouri Literacy Association (when it was still IRA).
Among Ann’s responsibilities at SMSU was the annual children’s literature festival. The year she invited me to be one of the three speakers, the other two were Walter Dean Myer and Jane Yolen. Ann picked us up at the airport in St. Louis for the long drive down to Cape and the four of us had a great conversation all the way.
Later Ann decided to write a series of interviews of me and submit them to a number of state IRA reading journals. Between 2001-2005 a total of thirteen were published Colorado, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, California, Arizona, South Carolina, Florida, Montana, Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. You can imagine how delighted I was to hear from Ann. With her usual thoughtfulness she offered to send me some of the quotes about me/my work she had gathered while writing the articles, copies of some of the journals, and even the letter she wrote to nominate me for Missouri’s first poet laureate. I wasn’t selected but it was a swell letter!
So thank you, dear Ann, for all the good memories and wonderful things you did for me. I’m glad that you and that talented hubby of yours (Bob) are enjoying your retirement. With love, David