Comment from Judy Yim Robertson 2007 Dec 14

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From: Judy Yim Robertson
Date: 2007 Dec 14
Subj: The Basic Eight vs. Lowell High School

Hi Larry. Found your blog when I was searching online for references to Daniel Handler's book The Basic Eight. I've just started reading the book. I graduated from Lowell in 1974, but some of the Lowell personalities who became characters in the book were there during my years.

The teacher Joanne Milton is obviously based on Joan Marie Shelley. I never took any of her classes but she was quite well known in the community.

The other teacher characters I recognized were vocal music teacher Johnny Land (Johnny Hand in the book) and English teach Flossie Lewis (Hattie Lewis in the book).

Mr. Land was a good voice teacher when I was at Lowell; I was sad to see his character described as a lush in the book.

I didn't have any of Ms. Lewis's classes, but I was on the editorial board of the lit magazine Myriad, which she guided. I have a great deal of affection for her, as do all of the Lowell students who were fortunate enough to have contact with her.

The various student characters are quite familiar to me, because they tend to occur in the Lowell population no matter what year we're talking about. In your blog, you refer to a character named Shannon, who is the head of the prop crew for student plays. That could have been me in high school.

If any other specific similarities occur to me, I'll send you a follow-up. Thanks for the blog.

Judy Yim Robertson
Lowell Class of 1974

I never heard of Joan-Marie Shelley, but some old news articles describe her as head of the teachers' union, so I guess she's big-time.