Sue Granquist recalls how Bradbury’s story of a Christmas wish gave her the best present of all

Readers who know Ray Bradbury as a science fiction and fantasy writer may forget that his writings have long appealed to a broad audience and appeared in magazines from Playboy to McCall’s.

When Sue Granquist was nine years old, she discovered the magic of Ray Bradbury in the December 1973 issue of Women’s Day. It was a difficult Christmas season, for Granquist had recently lost her grandfather to a heart attack and felt like she was now losing her father to his own deep grief. But something changed when her father, normally “more of an evening news man” read “The Wish,” a Bradbury short story nestled between cookie recipes and needlework patterns. Granquist’s mother had put the magazine into her grieving husband’s hands as he sat, stoic, on the living room couch and it seemed to move him to tears. Granquist watched as her father soon seemed “more himself” and, after reading the story herself, she began “devouring anything written by Ray Bradbury.”

“The Wish,” written after the death of Bradbury’s own father, describes an hour of Christmas night magic that revealed the salve for loss and despair: expressions of love. First published in Woman’s Day and later collected in Long After Midnight, it is one of Bradbury’s few Christmas stories.

Bradbury’s friend and former publisher Peter Schneider, now of Hill House Press, came upon Granquist’s remembrance of that 1973 December on the Black Gate magazine website and wanted her to have his copy of “The Wish,” a limited edition he convinced Bradbury to publish in 2006. You can read more about Granquist’s discovery of Bradbury on the Black Gate blog.

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