Catherine Ryan Hyde Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than 25 published and forthcoming books, including the bestselling When I found You, Pay It Forward, Don't Let Me Go, and Take Me With You.


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Please Pay This Forward

Catherine Ryan Hyde

Over 40 years ago, a public high school teacher named Lenny Horowitz changed my life completely by helping me believe I could write.  And, since it was a change that was slow to grow fruit, I was never able to tell him.  He was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease the following year, and died shortly after I left Buffalo. 

In 2006 I wrote an essay for the Random House website about his influence in my life.  It’s still on my blog to be read.

In 2009 my novel Diary of a Witness, about a couple of bullied kids, was published.  I dedicated it to Lenny.

A couple of months ago I found an ancient photo of Lenny cut from a Bennett High School yearbook.  It’s somehow survived dozens of moves.

For almost four years I have been actively searching for Lenny’s son, Brian (or Bryan).  He was younger than me, so would likely be in his late 40s.  I want to give him a copy of that book, and show him my essay.  I even engaged a (friend of mine who is a) good private investigator to help in the search.  But after 40 years, a trail can grow awfully cold.  We found two Bennett High School teachers who remember Lenny, but they were not able to help me find Brian.

I was just about to give up when it struck me that the Pay It Forward model of exponential multiplication could be a useful tool.  Will you Pay It Forward for the author of Pay It Forward by moving this information on to more eyes?  Social networking can be a tool of enormous impact.  Most people have hundreds of Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  Word can travel fast.

If I had lost my father as a child, I’d want to hear from someone with a good story about his life-changing kindness.  I can only hope Brian will agree.  I have to try.

Thank you!