All my life I have been besotted with horses. Well, all animals really. But as far back as I can remember, horses were my hearts desire. All I wanted in life was a horse. Being a town kid, that made the dream fairly far fetched and hard to attain. So I consoled myself by reading every available horse or pony story I could get my hands on. And I read a lot of them!
I believe it was third grade when our teacher assigned a special project for the whole class, in which we were all instructed to decide what our favorite book was, and write a letter to the author of that book. I chose the wonderful author and artist C. W. Anderson. He wrote many books for children and young adults. His paintings and sketches are so wonderful, just beautiful.
I love this one. I am really partial to pinto horses.
So, I set to task writing a very heartfelt letter to my favorite author and artist. We sent them to the publishing companies of the books we had chosen as our favorites, and asked them to please forward the letters to our chosen authors. From what I remember, most of the kids received either printed info about the author from the publishing company, or a postcard from the author thanking the student for the interest in their work. I, on the other hand, received a lovely, hand written letter on Mr. Anderson's stationary, that also had a print of one of his paintings on it. To say I was thrilled is putting it mildly! It had his return address on the envelope, so I immediately sent another letter. He again responded with another kindly letter. I have both of those letters to this day, tucked away in a scrap book.
With the information available at our fingertips today with the internet, I can see that he would have been quite elderly when he sent those thoughtful letters to a little girl that loved his stories and beautiful paintings of horses. As an adult, that is a regret I ponder – that I didn't continue writing to that wonderful gentleman, so we could have continued sharing thoughts on our mutual love of horses. He would have passed away about a year after our correspondence started.
But kudos to my third grade teacher! What a wonderful thing for a kid to have experienced, and all because of her grand idea to write those initial letters, and take a chance that the publishing companies would forward them.
I had very few pictures to grace the walls of my very first apartment. I had a few antique prints in my bedroom of lovely ladies, that had belonged to my great grandmother (those same prints hang in my little cottage bedroom today). But the one that hung front and center in my apartment living room was the Anderson print (shown below) that I had purchased at a rummage sale when I was about 13 years old, and kept in my cedar chest in anticipation of having my first place.
For the life of me, I have no idea what became of that print after I moved from my apartment, which makes me sad! Even though I have a bazillion pictures now, I still keep my eyes peeled at rummage sales, estate sales, antique shows etc., for C. W. Anderson prints, because I would surely make room for one or two.
Thankfully, and happily, the summer after fourth grade I got my very own pony! She was a wiley little Shetland named Cinnamon that I loved with all my heart. For the first 3 months I had her, I knew better what the underside of her belly looked like than what her face looked like, as she spent the biggest portion of our time together schooling me! I was black and blue that whole summer, until I learned the ropes a bit, and was better able to stay on the top side of my steed. She was the first of 10 horses I've had in my life, each wonderful, and wholely loved.
So, if you have a horse crazy young person in your life, I recommend Mr. Anderson's books. I would think/hope they would still have his books at the public library.