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Dr. Leo Buscaglia
His Books, Lectures and Newspaper Columns Made Him Beloved by Millions
Continued from page 1
by Cookie Curci
A Memory for Tino is available nationally by satellite to schools subscribing to the educational broadcast service of the Public Broadcasting System. Approximately 30,000 schools have access to this satellite program, and I'm proud to say our own San Jose Unified School District has recently made the video available.
This tradition of giving began many years ago when Leo was traveling in Hong Kong. It was there he met a Chinese refugee named Wong, who, with his family, was living in poverty. In order to find work, Wong needed to learn English. Leo paid for Wong's tuition to an English-language school. Years later, Wong was prepared to pay back what he saw as a great debt. Instead, he was encouraged by Dr. Buscaglia to give the money to another person who showed Wong's determination. In this way it might continue to touch many lives.
Dr. Buscaglia took a personal interest in the lives of everyone he came in contact with, including this writer. It was through the mail that I would come to know this inspirational philosopher. I received my first letter from Dr. Buscaglia at a time when I needed it most. His words really shored up my ego about my potential as a writer. His encouraging letter arrived, like a warm and much needed hug. It came the day I had firmly decided to give up my fledgling career as a writer. Like many housewives, I was caught between my desire for creativity and the age-old need to be a diligent homemaker, a devoted wife and a dutiful daughter. I was finding it nearly impossible to juggle all of these demands on my time and energy.
Between my daily bouts with the laundry, household responsibilities, unmade beds, dirty dishes and a part-time job, I was trying to finish a short story. I was feeling especially frustrated that morning, and overwhelmed by my mounting housework. I decided something would have to go--and it would have to be my writing career. I chucked my old manual typewriter into the darkest corner of my closet, wadded up my manuscript into a tight little ball and tossed it into the wastebasket. I'd leave the writing to the writers of the world. The end. Or so I thought, until I opened my morning mail
That day, in my mail I found a small, inconspicuous, envelope. The return address read, Dr. Leo Buscaglia, Glenbrook NV. I recognized the name immediately. I had written the famous author several months before, complimenting him on his remarkable career and his recent book, Bus 9 to Paradise. I also mentioned that he and I came from very similar Italian backgrounds, that I also enjoyed writing and I enclosed one of my unpublished manuscripts in my letter. I never dreamed that the renowned author of 15 bestsellers would personally take the time to write me a return letter. I read and reread his words, especially his encouraging last few lines: "You have a great deal to give, and you have found the perfect way in which to give it. You write very well, in an easy free-flowing style that fills the reader's mind with rich images of the past." Leo's words shored up my ego, his written words kept me going and we wrote back and forth for many years until his death in 1998.
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