Dictionary Graduation Gift

It used to be that a dictionary was the perfect graduation gift.

My dictionary was given to me as a high school graduation gift by my best friend. She was two years older and three years ahead of me in school.

We grew up next to each other, both of us the youngest child of nine kids. For fun, we played newspaper, interviewing relatives and neighbors, typing out stories on my mom’s Royal typewriter, and selling issues door-to-door.

In high school, my friend was the senior editor of the student newspaper while I was the freshman stringer. She indulged me with choice assignments, but was fiercely intollerant of sloppy reporting. When I finished a story, she alway told me what was good about it, and encouraged me with ways to improve.

By the time I graduated from high school, my friend was an editor at university paper. Her graduation gift to me was at once practical and sentimental–a nod to our shared newspaper days of our youth.

My friend now lives in New York City, where she is an award-winning news editor. Dictionaries have become out of fashion as gifts. but I still use mine regularly. The red cover is faded and the black alpha tabs are worn. Whenever I turn to it, I think of my first friend and first writing mentor.

If you love dictionaries like I do, read Austin Kleon’s post Why I Love My Paper Dictionary.

If your graduate wouldn’t appreciate a paper dictionary, Austin Kleon’s books make a great gift!


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