Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Once A Reader, Always A Reader

I recently moved and when getting the new house together, I went through photographs I hadn't seen for a while, trying to find some interesting ones for my walls.  Though a lot of them simply went back into the box to go into storage, there were several that inspired some fond memories.  One of them is of my oldest/best friend, Therese, and me, spread out on her front steps, books in our faces.

We probably were in third or fourth grade in the photo, judging by the length of our skinny legs.  Growing up, we both shared a love of books and though we grew up in the projects and spent a lot of time outside, we also read as many books as we could throughout the week (twice as much during the summertime).  I can pretty much guarantee that we were probably deep into a Nancy Drew book.  I would bet any amount of money that she and I read every single Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew book ever written.

Every time I went to my local library, I loaded up with the maximum number of books you could borrow, and I'd take a break from the walk home by stopping at my grandparents' house.  My grandmother lined her driveway with lilies, gladioli, daisies and pansies.  Her kitchen windows overlooked those colorful flowers, so I would sit there with my grandfather, eating one of our favorite snacks and talking about the books I'd just borrowed.  He didn't say much (wasn't much of a talker) but he listened to me tell him that I'd chosen some biographies of Annie Oakley or Amelia Earhart or that I'd been the first one to borrow the newest title in the Nancy Drew series.

No matter how hot it became, we sprawled on the concrete steps or took our books across the street to the city playground near our school.  I wonder now how we spent so much time in the sun, but we were there.  All day, every day.  By the middle of the summer, we'd be as brown as nuts and our hair lightened by at least three shades.

Looking back at those moments is always fun, but I never would have known at that moment that Therese and I would still be friends to this day and that we'd still be talking about books.  My house is full of books, at least one little pile of books-in-progress in each room, and these days, when Therese and I check in with each other, one of the first questions invariably asked is "what are you reading?"

I wonder sometimes whether children read as much as we did then.

What are your thoughts?


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