To be able to live a life of freedom courage and choice like Johnathon seemed like an impossible dream to me in the early 1970's. I was growing up like a caged, scared animal in the Belfast civil war when my English teacher gave me "Johnathon Livingston Seagull" as a prize for doing so well in her class. Johnathon changed my life.
Now at 54 years old I have 4 copies - my original I keep for me with Richard's personalized note inside and 3 copies I bought for all of my children.
After reading his book and managing to find a way out of Belfast, Northern Ireland to live in California in 1984 (by having faith in my ability to crate my own life and know that I could fly higher than I thought was "possible") I wrote to Richard Bach thinking "he will never write back!!" I wanted to write and thank him anyway. I was SO shocked and honored that he wrote back in person - a hand written note and picture of a beach and sunshine....
That was another stepping stone in my young life realizing that authors and famous people were human too....
I have since been a community college educator in stress management and healing and have used Johnathon in all my classes as required reading with an essay at the end to see how he has affected their lives... The stories are and have been amazing.
After reaching a glass ceiling in teaching, massage and stress management and raising 3 beautiful wonderful children on my own I set them free to fly with their own version of Johnathon and watch them fly.
As for me ... the sky was still not my limit... I went back to school and became a Nurse . I graduated on my 53rd birthday last year. It took 8 years. I have worked in a children's psyche hospital in Alaska where Johnathon was talked about in my groups giving hope and courage to the young.
I recently moved to Idaho and now work in a critical care step down unit and feel that Jonathan's strength will carry me through this journey too. I was cycling along Boise River today and took pictures of all the many bridges along my path - each one built differently out of different materials; but still beautiful bridges across forever....with endless possibilities.
It reminded me of the title of one of Richards book "The Bridge Across Forever" so I went on Amazon to order it today . I then found this website and had to write. In the old days I would have written another hand written note (which I much prefer) to show my long term gratitude for all Richard has shared with his readers (& me).... And was so sad to hear of his plane crash ... hoping he has found his wings again to continue another leg of his journey.
I was also SO excited to see there is another edition of Jonathan which of course I must read too ... and Puff....and Illusions 2 !!
THANK YOU Richard Bach for being my invisible light through this world...it is a tough world to navigate alone... and Jonathan has been and continues to be with me every step of the way. I have NO idea if this note will reach you ... but I hope it does and know I have tried....I did my best to fly:)) ....and my life took flight , thanks to YOU.
PS. I am writing about my journey as a memoir for my children- I have had such a crazy. wonderful adventurous life in so many countries, places and jobs that I never thought would be possible never mind even dreamed of ... especially for a simple girl from Belfast. If anyone reads this that hasn't read Jonathan - READ IT !!!
Jonathan literally saves lives.