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My grandmother ran a news agency, back in the day when selling news was still a viable business and I had just left my home country in the wake of my parents’ divorce to move to NZ. On the days when my mother would take me to visit Granny at work I would marvel at the neat, stacked rows of newspapers, magazines and, most crucially, comic books.
When magazines and comics didn’t sell Granny would remove their front covers to return to the publishers. I think the rest was meant to be recycled or destroyed. But for me, Granny took them home.
In the glass conservatory across the yard from the big walnut tree I whiled away hours digging through the faceless stacks of comic books. Because nothing had a cover to command my attention everything got a chance to impress me. I read good, bad and outright weird comics. The heroes within dealt with problems far greater than what I was facing and even though they made mistakes they always tried to do what was right. Surrounded by stacks of possibility and bowls of walnut shells I developed a lifelong love.
I was 11 years old. It’s not a coincidence that this is the age group I love to teach.