My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Datnoff, my sixth grade teacher, Mr. Ball, and my public librarian, Peggy Coughlin, all encouraged the fledgling writer in me.

  I received so many rejections through the early years of my career. At times I feared I would never succeed. But then I would recall the enthusiastic support of these early mentors and I kept working.

DSC00620Mrs. Datnoff is standing in the center- back of this image. The young boy seated in the front row, second from the right, is my brother Mark who had Mrs. Datnoff three years before I had my turn as her student. Years later, when I sought her out to thank her, Mrs. Datnoff remembered my brother but didn’t remember me. I’m not surprised. In fifth grade I was as shy and quiet as a baby mouse.