Are you there Ms. Blume? It's me, Dindy.
Margaret Simon and I have been friends for 36 years since Mrs. Feldman, the librarian at the now-defunct John F. Kennedy Elementary School, introduced us. I connected with Margaret, the glorious girl that you created and she showed me that I wasn't alone. It clicked at that moment, I would be a writer and repay the kindness (pay it forward in hackneyed parlance).
Reading was (and is) my refuge, the perfect hiding place for a shy girl who was the first in sixth grade to get her period. How the entire grade found out I will never know, but news like this travels fast. Margaret was the gentle friend I needed at the time.
You made me laugh and cry, you gave me a friend and you gave me a career. For decades I have given your books, particularly "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," as gifts to young women who need a respite from the crazy, super sonic world. It is still one of my favorite gifts to give.
Ms. Blume, you inspired me to read and keep reading, to write and keep writing and I know you inspire those who I introduce to you and your creations.
Thank you for giving birth to Margaret and so many other realistic, hilarious and wise characters and stories.