I Am a Sidewalk
About the Book
Matt wrote this story in 1977 as a sophomore in high school. He picked the topic to get points for creativity and improve his chances for a better grade. He got a B. For him, that was a good grade. He kept the story in a folder until the mid-1990s, when he started to type it up as a short story to put in a magazine. He never finished. In the back of his mind, he wanted it to be a children’s book. In 2010, Matt asked his old friend Don Huff to help give him pointers. Don gave Matt some good ideas and encouraged him to continue. He was going to have his sons—Collin, Dillon, and Trevlan—illustrate the story. They gave him some great ideas. This further inspired him to continue. His three boys enjoyed the story when it was read to them. Maybe they will read it to their children someday. As the final writing was being finished, Matt’s brother Mike, sister-in-law Kathleen, nephew Luke, brother-in-law Paul, and good friend Kelly made key contributions to the final effort. May, Matt’s spouse, patiently let him finish the project in a supportive manner. A goal of Matt’s is to deliver a copy of this book to his two high school English teachers who graded his English paper. Matt learned a lot during the process of turning the original homework assignment into a children's book. With the help of Don and others, he learned about the power of friendship, with patience and persistence to make progress. This story is more than just a sidewalk journal. It is a reflection on life and speaks to that through the eyes of a sidewalk. This story is for all of us, not just our children. Read it, and see what it tells you.
About the Author
I originally wrote this story in high school to complete a final assignment for my sophomore English class. In no stretch of the imagination am I an accomplished creative writer. I got a B mostly on the creativity and originality of thought more than the grammar and writing results. I struggled to write well in high school and pretty much have struggled in my entire professional career. However, I like to save my work. I always remembered this story and thought it could be a children’s story. It was after about twenty years from the original effort that I pulled out the story, thinking to publish it as a whimsical story to put in a project newsletter related to my work career as a civil engineer in the field of transportation. I am a late baby boomer, being born in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 1961. I grew up in Indianapolis in a family of six—I was the second of four children. My father was a high school football coach for thirty years. I went to a Jesuit high school. I was your typical high school kid that participated in sports—football, wrestling, and track. I had to work many odd jobs growing up in Indiana. I did yard work, spent eight summers detasseling corn, and worked four years in fast-food (McDonalds) to help pay for high school and attend Purdue University. I was in Navy ROTC for a year and a half, sold programs at the Indianapolis 500 for eight years, and built tree houses as a youth. I have always been interested in the environment and transportation through camping, taking long family vacation road trips. I have run ten marathons from 1989 to 1997, from 3:18 to 4:18 in length. My first one was New York with my father, who has run eleven, with neither of us currently running marathons. The I Am a Sidewalk was almost a direct prediction of what I would deal with on a much larger scale in my future work endeavors. Fortuitously, my career as a professional civil engineering in transportation has involved major planning and development of freeway corridor reconstruction projects primarily in the Dallas Fort Worth area. In these projects, I have kept an eye toward the aesthetics of the project and how it fits into the adjacent landscape. My spouse and I, May, reside in east Dallas. We have three sons: Collin (twenty-five), Dillon (seventeen), and Trevlan (thirteen). Together we have lived in four homes in Dallas and have remodeled three of them. We are involved in our children’s sports and extracurricular and scouting activities. I am a scoutmaster for my son’s troop. We continue my family tradition of taking long vacation road trips to view the beauty of this country of ours. We have attended three Olympics as spectators, which were in Calgary, Atlanta, and Utah.