In 1991, schoolteacher William Stanhope wrote to a number of high-profile personalities and politely asked for the following: a description of an obstacle they had faced in their lifetime, big or small, and the story of their attempt to overcome it. He then collated the responses and used them to teach his class. The lovely letter below was sent to Stanhope by Ray Bradbury, the legendary author of, most notably, Fahrenheit 451.
ray bradbury enterprises
los angeles, california 90064
dear william stanhope:
most important decision i ever made came at age 9…i was collecting BUCK ROGERS comic strips, 1929, when my 5th grade classmates made fun of me. I tore up the strips. A week later, broke into tears. Why was I crying? I wondered. Who die? Me, was the answer. I have torn up the future. What to do about it? Start collecting BUCK ROGERS again. Fall in love with the Future! I did just that. And after that never listened to one damnfool idiot classmate who doubted me! What did I learn? To be myself and never let others, prejudiced, interfer with my life. Kids, do the same. Be your own self. Love what YOU love.
(Signed, ‘RAY B.’)