My sister recently brought over a bag of my old artwork that she cleaned out of my mom’s garage. In it, I found what appears to be my first article. Though it’s not dated, I peg it around fourth grade. It’s a community-minded piece about “Officer Tandy.”
Since the scan is a bit hard to read (the original is 20+ years old, after all) I’ve typed out the text, including the spelling errors:
“Being a police officer keeps me constantly on the go,” says Officer Tandy, a 27-year-old police officer. Officer Tandy likes her job because “It’s like controling [sic] the road,” she says. “In fact, it is controling [sic] the streets. Everyone’s safty [sic] is in my hands.”
A good police office is alert, ready to go and caring. They have to care about their community. Officer Tandy is all of those things.
I don't know what I love most about this. Is it that the story features a courageous, strong, caring female police office named “Tandy” who is happy with her job? Is it because Officer Tandy appears to be a bit obsessed with “controling” things, as I was back then? Is it the meticulous (but still not great) cursive writing? Is it the revelation that my writing style and voice haven't changed much over the past two decades?
No, I think it’s the fact that my teacher wrote “Very good beginning!” and that my parents thought enough of my “article” to save it all of these years. They couldn’t have known that one day I’d make a living writing magazine articles that would be read by millions. It was a very good beginning, indeed.
So, parents, the next time your child paints a masterpiece or pens a story, tuck it away someplace safe—it might just be a “very good beginning” worth keeping.