Your Turn: Correspondences with Walter Farley

In 1989 Amanda G. Sharritt wrote to Walter Farley, author of The Black Stallion, as part of a school contest. What she received in return she’ll cherish forever.

From Amanda:

When I was in 8th grade we had a school-wide contest. The contest was fairly simple. You were to write to a celebrity or someone famous and ask them to send you something. Whoever received the “coolest” or “best” things from their celebrity of choice won. I believe there were different categories for winners but unfortunately I don’t remember all the details.

Anyway, I decided to write to Walter Farley, the author of The Black Stallion┬áseries and The Island Stallion┬áseries. I had pretty much read all of his books at this point in my life and he was by far my favorite author at the time. I was a horse crazy kid (still am) in those days and I couldn’t think of any other “celebrity” I would be interested in writing to or especially receiving something from.

I received this letter and picture from him in return:

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Looking at it now, after all these years, I realize it is most likely some kind of form letter–although it was typed not copied and I believe the spirit of the letter was straight from Mr. Farley–but it was still very special to me, and still is, actually. The original photograph (not a copy!) of Mr. Farley on one of his horses was (and is) one of the coolest gifts I have ever received. Sadly, this contest was run sometime around September 1989 and I received my letter and photograph in early October of 1989–just a few days or maybe a week or so before Mr. Farley passed away.

I didn’t win any of the school prizes for that contest. I don’t even remember what any of the winners received but in my mind I had won the grand prize. Like Mr. Farley I didn’t have any horses growing up and it was through his books that I dreamed of my own horses. In my mind I rode the Black on a deserted beach and off into the sunset. A few years later I finally had a horse of my own but I’m not sure how this horse crazy girl would have gotten through the many trials and tribulations of middle school without the words of Walter Farley to take her away to safe, happy, horsey places!

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