When we first moved to Michigan, I had left the realm of first grade and was staying at home with our infant son. For a little study project, I asked my upper grade friends to recommend their favorite read alouds and Christopher Paul Curtis's The Watson's Go to Birmingham was on so many lists. So of course, it was the first one I read. I loved it- I was talking about the Watson's like they were my friends. I was in a new town, with a new baby, not working for the first time ever and was pretty isolated...until I met the Watsons.
One day in Ann Arbor, Mr. TRWH and I loaded up our tiny black Honda Civic with the baby and all his accessories for a trip to Costco in Brighton. On the way up, there were signs for Flint! I got so excited and started saying "Ooo- Flint!" every time I saw a sign. Every time. The whole way. After reading TWGTB, Flint seemed so magical to me. US-23 was an inspiring place to be.
We got to Costco and went in to shop. I talked about the Watson's the whole time. Mr. TRWH's interest was starting to wane. "You don't get it. You really should read it." I said. He looked at me added the case of chick-peas to the cart.
One the way home, a car with Alabama plates came up on our left on the majestic US-23. I started pointing and hyperventilating, bouncing up and down in my seat, pointing more.
"Look, look, look, look, look, look, look!" I shouted. "Alabama! Alabama plates! The Watson's! It's the Watson's! The Watson's!"
Mr. TRWH looked over at the Alabama car. Then he looked at me, calmly and evenly and said, "Well, actually, if the Watson's go to Birmingham, then they would have Michigan plates. That's not the Watson's."
Well, there you go.
* Our family had the pleasure of meeting CPC at the Ann Arbor Book Festival in 2012. And Mr. TRWH laughed, slapped his leg, and was as starry-eyed as I was. The infant son was now an 8 year-old and CPC was simply amazing to him. His storytelling even maintained our 4 year-old daughter's interest. CPC's short talk was intensive PD for teaching writing and information for living well in this world. An amazing man!
I told CPC this story in person. I am not sure if he thought I was crazy or charming or both.