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When you’re 10 years old, teachers often give you strange class assignments, and you try and do them to the best of your ability because, well, that’s how you get the good marks.
So when Emily Waldo from Omaha was set the task of asking someone famous to complete a questionnaire from the perspective of their own shoes (don’t ask), she did what any other 10-year-old would’ve done. She wrote to her favorite celebrity, namely JK Rowling.
Now, as grown-ups we all know that this is often a recipe for frustration and heartbreak, why would the famous author bother to even read the questionnaire, let alone find the time to answer it from the perspective of her own footwear? But then, something magical happened.
A parcel arrived at Emily’s school. Just the one, and no, it showed no sign of having been delivered by an owl. Inside there was a hand-written response to her questionnaire, plus a well-worn pair of boots. The very boots, the accompanying letter said, that JK had been wearing when she was writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Now 22 years of age, Emily takes up the tale (via the Daily Star): “I walked into the school office where there was a package addressed from England with about eight stamps in the corner. I knew exactly what it was. I vividly remember skipping up the steps to my classroom with a smile from ear to ear. I couldn’t believe it. I had the author of Harry Potter’s boots!
“I read the questionnaire aloud but her handwriting was a little difficult for me to decipher. And it took me years to understand how witty it actually was.”
Emily is now selling the boots in order to pay for her college tuition (with some money earmarked for a cancer charity, and her old school, as a thank you). Experts estimate that they’re worth somewhere in the region of $30,000.
Naturally, Emily’s thrilled: “I am indebted to J.K. Rowling for providing me with an experience that has enriched my life.”
And here’s the questionnaire:
Did you have to do anything for a school assignment that now strikes you as weird? Tell us here:
See more posts by Fraser McAlpine
Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.
He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.
Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic