It's dated May 9, 1970 and it's for $25.00. I was eleven years old and you better believe that was a huge sum of money back then. My mother was a receptionist at an auto bodyshop and she took home $62 a week.
The paper was the Toronto Telegram, now defunct (although I don't think my story was to blame). They had a special section for children, and they'd ask for submissions -- double-spaced, please, and don't forget to keep a carbon copy for yourself. I wrote a fantasy story about a flying horse, and lo and behold, it became the very first piece I had printed. They even included a little sketch of the horse that I'd sent with it. And a few days later, this incredible cheque came in the mail.
I'd been writing for some time before that; I spent almost all of my spare time in the recreation room, tapping out stories on an ancient Underwood Standard Typewriter that my grandfather bought for me (and which I still have, sitting here in my office). This was my first published piece, and from that moment on, I knew that no matter what, I was going to be a writer. I did manage to make that dream come true. And in an odd twist, if you look at the short length of the piece I sold them and the buying power of the dollar back then, I don't think I've had a story since that's paid quite as well. As they say, I peaked early, and it was all downhill from there.