Last Thursday was my real, official last day at Highlights. They organized a lovely luncheon for me at a local inn. I appreciated all the kind things that were said, and I appreciated all the people who came to help me celebrate. One of my luncheon guests was Ron Zalme, who is the talented current illustrator of "The Timbertoes" and "The Adventures of Spot." I thought you might like to see him. I'm holding a cool piece of art he did for me of the Timbertoes.
People kept asking me how it felt to be retiring, and I was stuck for an answer. I've never retired before! But eventually (and as with most of my best responses, after the fact) the answer did come to me.
In 1932 John Gee illustrated a storybook called The Timbertoes. This was twenty years before the Timbertoes appeared in Highlights. The little wooden family has lots of adventures in the book, including an episode in which Tommy gets abducted to be a child's action figure. Toward the end of the story, summer has ended, and winter is coming. Pa Timbertoe decides the family should head south. He builds a raft for the journey. This is how the book ends: "On down the brook they floated. Around the turn went the little raft. Around the turn and out of sight went the Timbertoes."
I don't mean to imply that I'm going to disappear. It's the image of heading into new waters that appeals to me, trusting the river to carry me to new places, in its own time. That's how it feels.
P.S. Thanks to Sue Erb for the photos of this and the previous event. She's a pro!
I am a writer for children and a former editor for Highlights and Highlights High Five. I live in a little farmhouse almost 150 years old in an ancient apple orchard in northeastern Pennsylvania, two miles from the Delaware River. The view from my porch is rolling fields, pine-covered hills, and deer and turkey. Here is where I sit and write when summer comes, watch the hummingbirds and chipmunks, and listen to the rain.