Sunday, May 28, 2006

A good book

Friday it was 80 degrees outside and I was running around in my un-air-conditioned car, going to awards assemblies and dong interviews.
Saturday the temperature dropped to 37 degrees. It was a wonderful day.
We didn’t have soccer games to attend because of the Memorial Day weekend. We couldn’t do yard work because it was raining. The house wasn’t spotless, but most of the laundry was done and I had cleaned the kitchen. L had a new “Battlefield 1942” computer game, so I didn’t get on the computer.
So I spent the day curled up on the sofa with a pile of books, a few licorice whips and a purring cat. It was a slice of heaven.
Time was, sitting with a book and a blanket was my favorite thing to do. I had my nose in a book throughout most of my childhood. I didn’t just read books; I read them and re-read them.
We didn’t have television when I was a child, so everyone read. Some of my favorite memories involve cool evenings on the ranch with the family gathered in our small two bedroom house, each one with a book in hand.
My favorite reading spot was next to the heat vent in the living room. I seem to recall the easy chair was in front of the heat vent. So I curled up behind the chair unseen but with a good view of the house, reading and eating applesauce cookies.
The house was quiet except for the sound of the static filled music from my sister’s radio, frogs singing in the creek down the road, and the rustle of pages turning
Fat, furry moths battered themselves against the window. We never bothered to close the curtains in the living room because our nearest neighbors were two miles away, and strangers rarely traveled the dirt road leading past our house
With three older sisters, the house was bulging with children’s literature. I remember these books with the fondness some people reserve for friends.
I read a series about the wives of American presidents, and Judy Bolton mysteries (I never did care much for Nancy Drew; she was just too prissy for my taste). I consumed Betsy and Tacy books like popcorn, washed down with some Boxcar Children, a little “Five Little Peppers and How they Grew,” and a heaping helping of the Eight Cousin series. I wanted to be Louisa May Alcott when I grew up, or may LM Montgomery of “Anne of Green Gables” fame. I still want to visit P.E. Island because of her books.
One winter when it was -20 degrees outside, I was given a box set of the Little House on the Prairie books for Christmas and I read the entire set over the Christmas holiday while the wind blew and ice crusted on the windows.
One summer I discovered “Black Beauty” and spent the heat of the day on the ranch curled up in a shady corner reading the adventures of the black horse while my father worked the hayfields and mother cooked dinner for the hay men.
Children’s literature still makes me very, very happy. My elementary school husband often brings home children’s fictional novels, and between him, my DS-11 and myself, the tombs get a serious reading before he sets them before his sixth grade students.
Last summer we all (re)read the Harry Potters series. We have been reading the “Guardians of Ga'hoole” ~ a chronicle of a group of owls; “Among the Hidden ~ a string of novels centered on a oppressive society where families are forbidden to have more than two children, and “City of Ember” a trio of tales about an underground city.
Yesterday I read two of the “Charlie Bone” series. These yarns have a Harry Potter-like flavor, in that the action focuses on a school for gifted children, including the “endowed” children of the Red King who have special magical gifts.
Thus I added Charlie and Benjamin, and the girl who can fly in the room in my brain filled with a huge cast of characters.
Just imagine the party if they all came to life, Tom Sawyer and Herminie and Laura and Mary sharing space with shy little Amy and strong willed Joe. Perhaps Frodo and Sam would rub elbows with Harry and Rose and her eight cousins could add to the merriment.
If you understand and recognize all of those names you are either ~ a kindred spirit or a member of my family ~ probably both.


Monica said...

I can understand your love of a good book. I too, read and reread books to this day.. rereading a favorite book is like meeting up again with an old friend. i would read anything i could get my hands on. It didnt make me any more educated in the book sense but I did enjoy myself. I work with 1-4th graders so I am constantly absorbed in a good book.

Molly said...

Ahhhhh, another reading fiend. I read so much as a child, it was my escape when I needed one, my best friend, my secret world. I read everything from Beverly Cleary to The BabySitter's Club. And as I have gotten older, I still love just a good book.

Wyo bro said...

Did wyo sis ever read "little britche" to you? That was one of my favorite memories as a little kid. Thanks wyo sis, I forgive you for switching my pillow for a blanket when we were at the ranch. I was much older before I figured out how the transformation happened. I do recognize all of the charictors (sorry about the spelling, I know you relate) you wrote about but haven't read the books.

Wyo sis said...

I have no recolection af reading Little Britches to you, I'm glad you remember it. They were my favorites for awhile because my 5th grade teacher Mrs. Leavett read them to the class. I must have read them to you at about that time. I love all of the books you mention Alleen, but I also read the childrens biographies the childhoods of famous americans. They had orange bindings. They were the first books I remember reading. I had the good luck to find a treasure trove of books in Grandma's basement. That's where I found all of the books by Louisa May Alcott, I also found Gone With the Wind and spent considerable time one summer wrapped up in the tribulations of Scarlett and Rhett.
I like you read and reread and rereread books I have read the Anne of Green Gables books at least 8 times. In a year or so I'll be ready to read them again.

Susan said...

I haven't seen or heard the name of the book "The Boxcar Children" in years!! We had to read that book in grade school and I just loved it!

Karen said...

I recognize all those names (of course) and have my own wide and varies cast of characters running amock in my brain at all times!

Mom passed on the love of the little orange biographies, the Betsy, Tacy & Tib books & the Anne books to me as a child... and I'm so grateful!