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Meeting Dr. Angelou This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Dr. Angelou is a very fine lady, and I was honored to be able to meet her. Mr. and Mrs. Meyer, Luke A. and I were invited to her home on a warm spring day. I thought we would have more of a relaxed conversation rather than an interview.

My first memory of Dr. Angelou is of her voice. She was in another room, talking on the phone. She has a deep voice for a woman, but still, it is a very nice voice. It seemed rather stern, which is probably why she is so commanding when she speaks.

When I first saw her, she reminded me of my grandmother. It was the way she carried herself. And when she sat down on the arm of a chair, she crossed her legs just like my grandmother. When we had a misunderstanding about a procedure, she handled it just as my grandmother would have: quietly, but unbendingly. The woman has amazing strength of character that I could tell initially by how she handled herself, and later by the answers she gave to our questions.

Before Luke and I asked any questions, Dr. Angelou posed some of her own. First, she asked our names, and proceeded to address us as Mr. and Ms. I found that interesting since it is not often an adult addresses someone younger with a title. That showed me how much respect she has for young people. What also surprised me was that she asked about us.

One of my first questions was about a quote that declares that whatever happens in the first 18 years of your life is what you'll be writing about the rest of your life. She said that was "the dumbest thing" she had ever heard of. I felt quite embarrassed. Maybe I should have known that she would disagree with that theory, since so many of her books are about her life after this period. Luckily, I had a follow-up question she answered with a comforting smile.

As we asked the questions, she would turn and look us deep in the eyes when she would answer, so that she knew she had our attention. I was completely hooked on her every word, and I felt that if I turned my head even a little bit, I would have showed her complete disrespect. And even though I was rigidly drawn to her out of my nervousness, she smiled often, putting me at ease.

Since I'd asked the dumbest question, I also got to ask the last question, and so I asked if I could be in her class if I went to Wake Forest University. She told me there was a very long waiting list, but if I wanted to be in her class, I should write her and she would try to help me because she would never forget my name. She also said that once she had been your teacher (as she had been ours that day), she would be your teacher forever. That made me feel very special.

After the interview Luke and I had our photograph taken with her, and then she autographed our books. She also invited us to tour her backyard and the bus she travels in. Seeing her home helped me learn even more about her. Her backyard was large and beautiful. On her patio are some of her awards and statues. She had a bust of Gandhi and many African pieces. She also had a huge brick barbecue pit that I'm sure she puts to good use with her many guests.

I also learned some interesting facts from her bus driver: her favorite channels are the Food Network and Country Music Television. I also know that when she is not writing in her favorite spot on the bus, which is a little nook at the kitchen table, she enjoys cooking from scratch. I also found out that her granddaughter had a baby that afternoon, making Dr. Angelou a great-grandmother.

I learned so much that day. I wish I had more time to get to know Dr. Angelou better, but I'm thankful for the time that I was able to spend with her.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





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