Unpacking and rediscovering my old heroes.
BackstoryWhen I was thirteen, Lloyd Alexander was my idol. The Prydain Chronicles were my favorite books and were the inspiration for the novel I had started working on - a story about a human who fell into a world of centaurs, red and black dwarves, elves and wizards.
On my thirteenth birthday, my mom looked Mr. Alexander up in the phone book, on a whim. As it happened, he was listed - he lived in Drexel Hill - only about forty minutes from us. And there was a phone number. She called and he answered.
Hi, is this Lloyd Alexander?" "Yes, it is." "The Lloyd Alexander, the author?" "Yes, that's me."
My mom went on to explain how much I admired his work and looked up to him. She asked if it was possible for us to drive to his home to meet him. He said he would be happy for us to visit, but he hadn't been feeling well. He asked if he could speak to me, though.
Up in my room, I heard my mom call from the stairs, "Alexis?" "Yes?" "Lloyd Alexander would like to speak with you."
For half an hour, we talked - about how he wrote his stories, about the ideas I had for mine. And then he told me about the book he had just finished that would be published soon, based on his childhood - The Gawgon and The Boy. At the end of the conversation, he asked for my address so he could send me a signed pamphlet. When the book came out, my mom bought it and we read it together.
Lloyd Alexander died in 2007, two weeks after his wife of 61 years and is buried in Drexel Hill.