Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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We Celebrate

Saturday night, my man and I met our kids and kids-in-laws to celebrate our family’s December and January birthdays.

Yes, it was February. Yes, we were late. Yes, I’m usually late, and my boys’ wives are always early when they plan something. I hope I’m gonna be just like them when I grow up!

We usually make everyone happy giftwise by just handing over a check, so each kiddo can get exactly what they want. And we did that Saturday.

But #1 son got a little extra.

I was cleaning out a file cabinet and found some things I thought he might enjoy having. Three baseball trophies (T-ball?) and the trophy he received when he won Pryor Creek’s science fair. He also won the state science fair (in his section) and got a grant for his school from the State Geological Society. (I think the school bought a fossil with it.)

I also gave him a copy of the book he wrote when he was in grade school.


Notice, I gave him a COPY. Not the original book. It’s mine. It lived in my bedside table for years, then moved to my office file cabinet. Can you say proud mama?

I’m thinking he was in about the 4th or 5th grade when he wrote it, because by 6th grade, Mrs. Head had become Mrs. Davison.

I know it’s my book, because of the dedication.

 “Dedicated to my mother, who helped and pulled me through this (rather complicated) book.”

Notice, he took a pen name. DJ Dexter.  Don’t ask me where he came up with it. I have no idea. LOL!

 DJ Dexter also illustrated the book. (Multi-talented author, isn’t he?) Notice the symbol in the upper right hand side of the picture? He thinks it was supposed to be a pentagram with a strike through, like in Ghostbusters.


I love the story. (I have permission from DJ Dexter himself to post it here, but it’ll be another day.) My little boy did a wonderful job!

But there’s another part I enjoyed almost as much. It’s from the teacher and on the inside cover.

Danny, you have completed an entire book that didn’t exist weeks ago–except in your imagination. You read each other’s stories & asked questions about things you didn’t understand & that’s reading. You edited for capitalization and punctuation & and that’s language.

You work in groups cooperatively & that’s social studies. So when you wondered, “Why didn’t Mrs. Head give us more homework on our books?” you didn’t realize what skills you were using every day.

I loved watching you . . . thinking, changing and rearranging your text & illustrations, to get them just right. I love your book, because it shows what you can do when you let your creative genius & your academic brain work as partners.

But most of all, I love you for your courage & determination when you turned that rough copy into a masterpiece & those blank pages into brilliant illustrations.

I hope your book will be a treasure to you & remind you not to quit . . . because you do have the abilities to turn your dreams into realities.

Love, Mrs. Head.

Wasn’t Mrs. Head (aka Joanie Davison) a great teacher? I can’t say that about all the teachers my kids had through the years, but I still appreciate the really good teachers who, like Mrs. Head, went above and beyond to encourage the kids.

Thank you!

Any fantastic teachers in your life or your kids? Tell them thanks.