I grew up in the country. There were 4 houses in a row full of family which incuded aunts and uncles; cousins; grandparents; cats and dogs. On Sundays we'd take turns at which home we would all gather for dinner. In the summertime we'd join one another under my aunt's pine trees and share suppers. Afterwards the adults would sit and talk and my cousins and I would play. Actually we played outside constantly no matter what the season. In the winter we'd be skating on the frozen creek that rambled along behind our homes. In the summer we'd play on our rafts made out of telephone poles-venturing about that creek on mighty adventures. Backwoods and thickets; old barns and grain sheds all added to our playground.

The highlight was the old chicken coop the adults gutted and filled with the remains of an abandoned one-room schoolhouse. This included books, desks, and chalkboards. We lived in that old coop void of glass in the windows or a door that fit.We brought books and read them over and over, cover to cover. And in that old coop is where I began writing my little books. That is where I knew I wanted to be a writer.

I was lucky. My imagination was stirred every single day. Those adults didn't spend lots of money or buy high-tec gadgets to stimulate our imaginations. They provided us with the right environment.

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