I never win anything. Well, that's not completely true. Once, my 6th-grade teacher, Mrs Poppenhager, held a series of little competitions - spelling bees and trivia contests and stuff like that - and she gave away cool things for prizes, like books she didn't want in her class library anymore, and cookies she didn't want in her kitchen anymore. Most of the time I lost those contests. In fact, one of my most bitter memories is of a spelling bee in which I had managed to make it to the last round. Then it was Tita Janolo and I, alone in front of the rest of the class, who had been demolished and returned to their seats in shame. So the teacher said my word: "Marshmallow." But she pronounced it the way it's pronounced, so naturally I spelled it the way it's pronounced, which is not the way it's spelled, and I got it wrong.
Then, the teacher asked Tita to spell "marshmallow", and she spelled it slowly and correctly, and I lost. That prize, which had been practically in my pocket, was going to another. I stumbled back to my seat in shock, and life was ashes and dust.
But, as I say, there were other contests. I don't know what it was I finally did well at, but whatever it was, I won. For my prize, Mrs Poppenhager gave me a used record album of Ferrante & Teicher piano music with a scuffed up sleeve that she didn't want in her record collection anymore. (I don't remember what album it was - it may have been Broadway to Hollywood, because I do remember it had "Marriage Type Love" from Me and Juliet on it, which became one of my favorite songs.) I like Ferrante & Teicher all right; I even went and saw them in concert once. But when one is 11 years old and one has one's heart set on winning a book, and one ends up with a used recording of music from one's parents' era, one is bound to be somewhat disappointed. Anyway, that's the last time I ever won anything, not counting those silly gifts at wedding and baby showers because I could unscramble things like "ripade" faster than everyone else.
So. I've decided if I can't win anything, I might as well give others the chance to win something.
Here's the prize - a hardcover copy (with dj) of Toot & Puddle: Charming Opal, by Holly Hobbie.
For a chance at this book, respond to this post (or email me) and describe one of your favorite childhood books, telling why it was a favorite. Good luck!