In third grade, Mrs. Cobb asked us to write a story.
When she gave mine back to me, she said, “Andra, when I’m an old, old lady, I’ll go to the Bixby library and I’ll see a book by Andra Coleman.”
I already loved reading, but this was suddenly a new love. To have the vision and encouragement of my favorite teacher? To write a book? To have it published and be in the library?
I should have swelled with joy and excitement. And I did, really. I’ve never forgotten it. I’ve returned to that memory of specific encouragement countless times when the words wouldn’t come out on my paper. I’ve considered it as a life-altering act of truth-speaking love.
But still. I was a literal ten-year-old. My main thought was this:
“No, she won’t. My book won’t say Andra Coleman. I’ll be married by then.”
(I know. Again, let me remind you, I was ten.)
So Mrs. Cobb, if you’re out there, I’m going to print one copy with my maiden name and personally deliver it to the Bixby public library. Because I want you to find me and know. Your words to a quirky, awkward third grader made a difference — they gave hope, they created a dream, and they helped make something beautiful happen.
Sometimes encouragement requires playing the long game.
Guest post by Andra (Coleman) Loy
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