Remembering Virginia

Virginia Hamilton: Her Influence, Her Words, Her Love
An essay by Jaime Adoff

How she did what she did will probably remain a mystery. She told me on many occasions she didn’t know. Ideas would just come to her, characters, plot. I would often ask her if she always knew what was going to happen next in the book she was writing. “Sometimes,” she would say, “Sometimes I don’t have any idea what’s going to happen. I just write and see where it takes me.” That would always make me feel good, since as a new writer I rarely knew what was going to happen next. If that’s how the Mighty Hamilton (as my father called her) works, then it’s good enough for me!

My mom’s greatest gift, I believe, was her love, her unconditional love for her children, her husband, her family. I think of all the books she wrote, the thousands of miles she traveled, the many accolades and awards she received. The public person that she was. Through it all she was always Mom, always the one who was there for me when I needed her. Always the one who would make everything okay. Always the one who knew just what to say, just at the right time. She did it all, had it all, and never sacrificed a thing. She always put family first, her children always came first, no matter what was going on in her professional life. This, I will always be thankful for.

Although my mom is no longer with us, you can still hear her voice. Just pick up any one of her books and open it to page one. Read her words, and it’s her voice you will hear reading them back to you. Shut your eyes really tight, and you can see her sitting there, her beautiful smile lighting up the room.

Her words full of magic,
Her life full of love.

She will live forever in our hearts . . . .

Jaime AdoffJaime Adoff is a musician and author and the son of Virigina Hamilton.