Dear Stephen King

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Jon went back to chewing his food, but I could tell he was thinking. "Why don't I give you his address and you can write him a letter,'' I said finally.

"You think I can do that?''

"I don't see why not,'' I said.

As I recall, he pestered me about the address for a week before I remembered to bring it in. The next day, he told me that he had written King a letter.

"That's great,'' I said, putting it out of my mind as my next class strolled into the room.

I was late for homeroom one day about a month later when I heard Jon calling my name.

"Mr. Rightmyer, he wrote back! Stephen King wrote me a letter!''

He had the letter with him. It was definitely from King, handwritten and about a page long.

During the end of his freshmen year, Jon began answering questions in class and keeping a daily journal. He was constantly showing me horror stories he was writing, and I never again saw him sit at an empty table in the cafeteria.

That was four years ago; neither of us lives in New Hampshire anymore. Jon is now majoring in graphic arts in college, and he hopes to one day have his own publishing company. His letters fill me in on his latest girlfriend, and he always does a short critique of the last book he's read. Every letter is signed, "Your friend, Jon.''

And when I read that, it occurs to me that teaching isn't such a bad profession.

Jack Rightmyer

The writer teaches English at Bethlehem Central Middle School in Delmar, N.Y. This article originally appeared in The English Journal, November 1990.

Vol. 02, Issue 08, Page 1-24

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