Forty years ago this month, my first article was published in Jack and Jill magazine. Well, sort of. My mother, Margery Facklam, actually wrote it with my help. At least I think I helped. I’m in the pictures anyway. The article was called “My Mother Works in a Science Museum” and tells all about my family and my mom’s job as Assistant Director of Education at the Buffalo Museum of Science.
In 6th grade I would have focused more on how cool it was to have the whole museum to myself after hours. I loved the Hall of Dinosaurs the most. I would stand in the middle of the vast room and hold my breath waiting for the bones to creak to life. One time, someone brought a young fox to the museum. I got the job of walking it on a leash out in the nearby rose garden. Another time, my mother brought me along on a trip to visit naturalists and film makers Ken and Bertie Button. I don’t remember why, but they had a baby two-toed sloth at their home. I can still feel its sharp two-inch long claws dig in as it hung from my arm.
How I’d like to brag about being an accomplished writer at age 11. But I can’t. In fact when the free copies arrived in the mail at our house and mom told me to take them to school, I was mortified. The teacher stood up in front of the class and gushed over me – a real published author. Surely the teacher could see that I didn’t really write this, right? I felt like such a fraud. I stood there and read the article like a good kid, and kept my mouth shut about not really being a part of the writing process. I didn’t want my mom to look bad, either. But it always bothered me.