While cleaning out a drawer recently, I came across a short story I wrote in 6th grade, entitled "Judy and Her Violin." I remember my teacher, Mrs. Rivas, spread pictures out on a table, and all the students got to look through the choices until we each found one that sparked an idea for a story. My picture was of a young girl playing a violin in an orchestra. It wasn't an ordinary orchestra, though, more likely one in a poverty-stricken/slum community. My story involved a girl who loved music and the Hull House, which was opened to improve social conditions for underserved people (mostly immigrants) in Chicago back in 1889.
About a week after I wrote the story, all the 5th and 6th graders (a couple hundred) were assembled in the auditorium, waiting for a program that was delayed for some reason. I guess the teachers were frantically trying to come up with things to kill time because the next thing I knew, my teacher was speaking into the microphone, announcing that Edith Morris would read her short story aloud. I remember my shocked walk from my seat in the auditorium up to the stage more clearly than I remember actually reading, but it makes me proud all these years later that she chose my story. I wish I still had the picture that sparked it!