Have you ever had a childhood dream of meeting someone really significant who left a huge impact on your life? I had such a dream for meeting John Boy Walton from the television series The Waltons, beloved by so many. John Boy was a little different than the rest of his family. There was a writer in him that had to come out. I thought he would understand how I felt about writing.
That was many years ago and The Waltons are still going strong in syndication. Imagine my delight when I actually did meet Earl Hamner, creator of The Waltons. Not only did we meet, but had one of those rare encounters where we became friends on the spot and have been in touch ever since. He even invited my students at Wallins Elementary to work with him on illustrating his book, ODETTE.
Looking back over my teaching career, I cherish that project because of Mr. Hamner and the wonderful effort the students made in producing illustrations for the book. Our lives will be linked forever because of that book project.
Mr. Hamner is turning 91 tomorrow. I wish him a very happy birthday and extend love and prayers to him across the miles. With his characters, he has impacted America through memories of family unity and strong relationships in the surrounding community. The Waltons is perhaps his best known work, but he also worked on many other memorable projects such as Falconcrest, The Twilight Zone; Charlotte’s Web; and wrote several wonderful books.
I hope that if I live to be 91, I am still creating, imagining, and making wholesome contributions to this world. His life is truly an inspiration and I am so blessed to be one small part of it.