April 17, 2011

Post #2705 – 20110417

Dear Mr. Pinkwater,

I’ve been reading Lizard Music with my daughter (8) and it brought back an incident from my elementary school days. Wondering if I could possibly be remembering this correctly. One day at my Columbus, Ohio school, my teacher received a very big package and found inside a life-sized cardboard cutout of a large smiling man. Nobody could figure out who it was or where it came from and it was an object of much speculation. Eventually someone figured out that another class had voted Daniel Pinkwater their favorite author and had written him requesting a photo. Instead of just a photo, they were sent the 6 foot cut-out. But it was sent to the wrong classroom. Anyway, if I am remembering this right, and you did do this, thanks for doing something that a whole schoolful of kids found hilarious and weird, and that sent a lot of us to Lizard Music – which 30 years on continues to astound.

Daniel replies:

It was more complicated than that. It was not the wrong classroom only, but the wrong school. The photo-statue was one of six or so the publisher had made, and one was to come to me--which I directed be sent to a fan club at the other school. Of course it never arrived, and the kids there were in a state of insurrection because they thought they were victims of some deception. It took quite a while to find out what had happened, but in the meantime the principal or vice-principal at your school became attached to the statue...he didn't know it was of me, but thought it was a practical joke from someone he had been in college or the army with, and almost recognized it. He would take it home on weekends, take it with him to parties, and when the mistake was discovered refused to give it up, having planned his whole summer around doing things together with the statue. Later, after it had been finally placed where it was intended to go in the first place, the statue was kidnapped, and photos of it in various locations came in. It goes on...I should really write the whole thing as a book.