Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Week To Remember

This author is tired. But it's a good tired. I have been on the go-go-go for a week straight, visiting schools, doing a pancake breakfast fundraiser, signing books, and then today was the Oklahoma City Memorial marathon 5-K . The city has hosted this marathon event for 10 years now, and their symbol is the tree -- the lone tree -- that survived the brutal bombing 15 years ago. All runs -- the full and half marathons plus the kid run and the 5-K all originate in downtown Oklahoma City, and you can't help but pass by the Memorial. It's a very effective way to help people remember those who were killed or devastated by the bombing, and the money raised by the marathon is used for the memorial and victims' families. The attendance has grown tremendously in the last few years, which is great for fundraising... but no so great if you're zigzagging through thousands of people, trying to get to your starting area while keeping track of all the students you promised you'd take good care of. Ay-ay-ay! But in the end, we all found each other and huddled together in the cold Oklahoma dark (and wind) until the gun went off. It truly was a "day to remember." I loved being on the school bus with the kids both in the wee hours, and then after it was over. Educators who put together an event like this have big hearts -- they make sure the kids who can't afford books get them anyway. They quietly take care of registration costs. They shuttle and process and jump through hoop after hoop to take care of all the things that will make "Author Day" (or Run With The Author, or Pancake Breakfast With The Author or Whatever With the Author) an event the kids will remember for a long time. So I'm a little (lot) tired. So what? It's been an amazing week in Oklahoma.

19 comments:

Nicole said...

Aw, I'm glad it went well :)

Mark Parsons said...

Glad it went well, KK! Loved the video too. I know you're tired, but you've been doing great stuff out there in "the heartland" - those kids will remember this forever. However, we really miss you over here on the left coast, too... so hurry home!

Love,
Mark

xxCammyLoverxx said...

Something about ETRTR reminds me of something we did here at out school for this past month. (I mentioned it on my personal blog.) It's called Ride Janie Ride and what it was, was we raised money for three different people we knew that lived in our community who had luekemia (spelling?). One was a third grader at our neighbor elementary school, one was a three year old we all knew and one was out teacher's brother-in-law. Me and my friends raised over $150 for it by walking around the community (looking like complete fools... we have posters taped to ourselves and fliers and we were wearing the school t-shirts and everything). The point is, our whole school raised over $13,000 for the three people. And Janie, the 30-something year old survivor who was going to die four years ago and survived, was the one who kinda "inspired" it all. So today we had a whole "big assembly" thing, we're all these RJR people rose motorcycles in the assembly room and there were news reporters (from three different channels) and all that stuff. But the REAL point is, people cried. Like, a lot. The third grader-- Kayla O'Leary-- I actually knew her personally. I used to baby-sit her. On the history teacher's blog there's a post saying what we did for the "common good" before and for RJR, and there's over 100 comments of kids, teachers, and parents telling their stories, and it really is just amazing how people can do things like that. Yes, it made me cried, and yes, I posted things.
So I guess what I'm saying is that Ride Janie Ride really inspired me a lot, and made me feel differently and see things completely differently when it comes to helping people we know, especially people who are close to us.
Our school is all over the Facebook page and ridejanieride.com and it just, wow. I denno. I guess it just really changed the way I saw things. And our school got the whole plaque-and-banner-and-certificate jobbie also, so yeah.
I feel completely different about all of it. I guess helping out made me feel, I denno. Good. Like, really good. I mean I've donated money and stuff to plenty of causes but never like this. Never have I seen so many people cry in one room. Never have I high-fived that many people on motorcycles in one place. So, hmm... I guess something like this is bound to happen in everyone's life sometimes.
That's all. I might go cry again. Maybe.
I didn't mean to make this ETRTR-connection this long, sorry. I just had to explain it all or else it would be confusing.
That's it!
-Stephanie

Jinnyd said...

Mmm...pancakes! Glad that everything worked out great! Virtual-welcome home (even though I don't live anywhere near the left coast--it just felt like the right thing to say)! Hope you have another great week!

Jinnyd said...

Also--I think it's great that running can be a medium both for fun and for a good cause: 2 great things rolled into one!

Pooja Dimba said...

Wow those kids are sooo lucky!
And its really cool how you travel to different states because some authors... just like stay in the state their from.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Not home quite yet! Tonight Chicago. And I'm beat up tired, but I have to say thanks for the comments and kudos to Stephanie. It's interesting how what we give can be more fulfilling than what we get.

sammy4ever said...

aw! that's so cool! COME TO CALIFORNIA BAY AREA NEXT!!!! I wanna eat pancakes with youuu! ha ha, well I'm glad it went well and it seems like a really good cause. my school did a fundraiser for people who don't have access to clean water. we did a whole weeks worth of doing water related activities in class and hosting fundraisers and whatnot. it was fun and made me feel good. like i was changing things for the better. or something. anyway i loovved this post, it was so inspiring!

xxCammyLoverxx said...

really? You're coming to Chicago? One of my friends emailed you recently asking for you to come to our school. :) I live in the Chicago so that' pretty cool. ;D HAVE FUN, IT'S THE BEST CITY IN THE WORLD. Portillo's. Haha. :D Or better, go to Michigan Avenue, The Magnificent Mile, when if you have a chance. Just kidding, but have fun anyway! --Stephanie.

FadedxRainbow said...

I wish I lived in Chicago, but nooooo. My parents decided for me to live i New York City..hmph. I'm upset now. I gonna go read Sammy Keyes. She always cheers me up. Like when I got a 44 for my math midterm...and a 32 for the language arts midterm...the others were good..above 70. One was 100. Is October 12 here yet? Pleeeaaassse say yes!

xxCammyLoverxx said...

I used to live in NYC! (And Orlando, FL. And Peoria, IL. Peoria is the most... queitest place ever. It's really big and has big houses but barely anyone lives there..)
Now I live in Chicago permanently! Where Obama lived. :) But also where Rod Blagojevich came from. :< HEh. He's a HUGE joke here, it's not even funny. Okay yes, maybe it's very funny. :) Last year when everything happened everyone was making poems (even the teachers) and hanging them around the school and it was just a huge joke. But theeennn, Obama comes along and gives us a good name again. Did you know Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy formed in Chicago? And the whole band? I've done one-too-many research projects on Fall Out Boy. Too bad they broke up. :*(

Red Boot Pearl said...

Thanks for coming to Oklahoma, I'm so glad that I got to see your presentation. It was random that I got to come, I was driving by and saw the 'Welcome Wendelin Van Draanen' sign and called them (I used to work at CMS) to see when you were presenting. I'm so glad I didn't miss it. It was way fun/inspiring. Thanks for signing my well loved books, Have fun in Chicago!

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Sammy4Ever: Do you know Hicklebee's Bookstore in San Jose? I go there about once a year. Near you?

xxCLxx: I'm on Michigan Ave! I just gave a talk at a breakfast that was way up on the 39th floor of a building -- amazing view! Beautiful day! It was the room they filmed in Batman (w/ the Joker). Apparently they used it as the bedroom and...some other unrelated room? I forget. But it was a stunning view. PS: I guess Fall Out Boy had a falling out? :-) Didn't know they'd broken up. (More about your band when I get a chance...)

FadedXRainbow: I know people who would move to NYC in a heartbeat if they could, so enjoy it the best you can! I love Central Park. I'd run it every day if I lived there. Gorgeous.

Red Boot Pearl: Thanks for checking in! Your seeing my name was cosmic! Very cool. People in Oklahoma are so nice. I really enjoyed my time there.

FadedxRainbow said...

New York City is nice but if you live there, you can't really see all the amazing attractions. I've lived here for all my life (12 measly years) and I've never seen the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building or anything. I went to Central Park on a class trip though..once. Gosh, its huge! Acres and acres. Even with my grades, I know that its a lot of land.

xxCammyLoverxx said...

Haha, me and my best friend were like ob-sessed with Fall Out Boy last year. We got to go backstage and meet them, Blink182, and Panic!at the Disco at their last ever show in Chicago. The one where Pete Wentz and Ashlee Simpson got into a fight. Awk-ward.
Anyway, I've never been in the room where The Dark Knight was shot but the Transformers 3 movie will be shooting in Chicago and my friend's dad is getting us to go to the set and meet Shia Labeouf and Megn Fox. :D
Hope, you enjoyed Chicago! Did you see the Smurfit Stone? It's the building with the diamond-mirror-top, it's my favorite. Or Wrigley Field? Or the Bean? Or... oh, never mind. Too much of Chicago to see in a few days. I could go through a whole list. It's my life. <3
Of course, New York and L.A are much bigger. Well, L.A is shorter but much wider, I suppose. The Walk of Fame was disappointing but Rodeo Drive is soo much fun, funner than Michigan Avenue (or maybe I say that cuz I'm a shopoholic and I've been on Michigan Av. about a million times?). I know people wish for white Christmases, and Chicago is gorgeous at night in the winter but I sometimes wish I could spend Christmas in a sunny, warm state once. For change, you know.
Cold can get annoying.
P.S. In Runaway, what state did Holly live in initially?

clararoxlol said...

glas it went we.. sounds fun!

NADrift said...

On a sidenote...what was your 5k time?

sammy4ever said...

GASP! i know where hicklebee's bookstore is! i went in there one time and it's in San Jose, right?
hold on, lemme check....
yeah, it's in san jose! YAY i live near there! hehehe (:
and you got to go into the room where they filmed the dark knight? with the JOKER?! DOUBLE GASP! that is one of my favorite movies of all time!!!!! oooo, i gotta go to chicago now!

xxCammyLoverxx said...

YES, you have to come to Chicago! And we can go to Wrigley Field together and throw tomatoes at the Cubs, because they're blehckk. (White Sox = <3 all the way).
And we can go on the Skydeck of the Sears (NOT Willis, I hate that name, ew ew ew) Tower and shop on Michigan Avenue the rest of the afternoon! <3
I wanna go to Los Angeles again so,oo,oo bad. D: Gahh. Oh well, no vacations this summer. Instead: a baby! We've decided not to name her Danielle and to name her Blaire instead. :D
And even though its cool that The Dark Knight was filmed in Chicago and all, the ride of the movie at our Six Flags sucked. :(