I went to our school book fair yesterday during my planning period and managed to control myself and stay within my budget. (I say that for the benefit of my husband, who reads my blog each morning. What happens at the book fair doesn’t need to upset him.) I was pleased to hear the excited squeals of the children who were also shopping. Once they realized I was there they had to show me the wares. “Look, Mrs. Maurer, this one is about a pig!” “Look at this one, it sparkles!” “This one has a hole in the front where the shark’s teeth are!” “And this one has 3D glasses!” So many choices, so much enthusiasm.
I was like that as a child. I couldn’t wait to learn to read. My mom seemed to always have a book or magazine or paper in her hand. I was determined to find out why, and I did. Dad says I learned to read signs and billboards as soon as I was old enough to stand up in the front seat. (Yes, think about that one for a minute. I’m lucky I survived childhood.) Apparently “Chevrolet” was my favorite word when I was three. And I knew the names of all the best restaurants. lol
I was one of those children who actually read under the covers with a flashlight. Dad was a strict task master and he insisted on a set bedtime each night. I tried to be a good kid, but I was never at the end of a chapter when the lights went off. I just needed ten more minutes. I swear I learned speed reading because of my father!
I also loved to read in a tree. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it had something to do with having little brothers who either couldn’t climb as high, or perhaps simply didn’t want to bother doing so. I spent a lot of time propped up on a limb, swinging my feet and reading about the adventures of someone else.
That was the magic of books. You could read about boys and girls who did exciting things and traveled to exciting places. The stories I read not only entertained me while I was reading them, but kept me from going insane while we did field work. Believe me, there is nothing more boring than picking a mile-long row of cotton! Unless it is tying grape vines to wires for eight hours. Or maybe picking grapes for three weeks in a row….anyway, reliving the stories I read helped me cope.
We didn’t have much money for books so we relied on the library. When we were in CA we benefited from the “bookmobile” service to rural areas. A little truck filled with books arrived at a designated spot each week and helped us satisfy our craving for reading.
We also went to a huge flea market called Cherry Auction. Gary and I were talking about it just the other day because he often went there with his parents to buy produce or livestock. We went for the produce, but also brought home clothes, books, and chickens. My brothers and I usually had 10-50 cents saved from our work or grandparents. I always spent mine on a book.
I have to admit that as a young parent I might have also used books as an escape. My children have said more than once, “Will you put down that book for a minute?” I admit to reading while nursing, while cooking, while sitting at ballgames. However, I must not have scarred them too deeply because they are all avid readers.
I don’t read as many books anymore. I find that my eyes don’t focus on a page quite as long since the year I had the detached retina. Yes, it is all healed and I’ve had cataract surgery and my vision is clear. But I still have “floaters” that affect my sight and after a few pages I find myself blinking at them in annoyance. So a book has to really hold my attention.
I still love to buy books for others, especially for children. That’s why I was excited to go to the book fair yesterday. I bought a new book to share with my class and some others for my niece and nephews. Good to see the next generation still excited about books!
Have a wonderful day!
P.S. The photo is of me neglecting my grandchild.