When we moved to Scott Drive, my dad took us to the Coatesville Public Library on Main Street one Saturday after school let out. I got my very own library card, and we could pick out three books a week. I had just finished first grade. He put his hammock from the Navy up between two trees and I laid on the hammock and read my library books.
I grew to like the classics because I remember, in third grade, I stayed up all night and read "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll. I have that same book still. It was my dad's from 1935. It was a child's book, but it has 241 pages!
It was late, like midnight, and I challenged myself to not stop reading until I finished the book. I remember waking up, lying across the end of my bed the next morning. I had done it! I was on the last page. I don't know that I retained an awful lot of it, but it was interesting and I just wanted to say that I stayed up all night to read a book.
|This engraving is on p. 131 of my copy of the book|
Another tome that really influenced me was "Little Women."
I marvelled that I was in all the characters. I was the oldest sister, like Meg; a writer (wannabe), like Jo; I played the piano like Beth and I painted like Amy. I could relate to all of them. I said before, I found an old typewriter in the attic that used to be my mom's. It was from the 1940s, I think. I carried that black manual typewriter, in its black canvas case, up to Pike's Peak and sat down and typed out my novel. I was in sixth grade, I think. I remember letting Nancy Antol read it and she said it needed more adventure in it. I can't remember what I wrote about, but after Nancy's critique, I had a skiing accident in there somewhere. I scoured the map of the United States to see where my novel would take place and I picked Hagerstown, MD. Little did I know that I had ancestors who lived in that very place. I wasn't sure if people skiied in Hagerstown, so the novel went on the back burner while I painted--probably.
I read "Lives of the Saints" and was very taken with religious writings. I read about "Theresa, the Little Flower" in third grade and I decided I wanted Theresa to be my Confirmation name. If I'm not mistaken, my friend and former babysitter, Theresa Pahira, was my sponsor when I was confirmed. I loved her. I missed her when we moved to Scott Drive.
I also read about "Helen Keller." It was about the time the movie, based on the stage play, with Patty Duke came out. I stayed overnight at my grandparents' house and Mona and I re-enacted the scene where she and Annie Sullivan were in the dining room and Helen was eating off everyone's plates. Mona was Annie and threw herself into the part. I believe I had bruises and scratch marks after the re-enactment. I hope she was given as good as she got, but it was for the play!
Being in high school rather ruined me with reading. I didn't particularly like the books we had to read: "The Scarlet Letter," "The Red Badge of Courage," "Great Expectations," "Moby Dick..." Classics, all, but not my taste. Once I got out of high school and college, I could read whatever I wanted. That, I liked! I got to choose the classics that suited me.
I still love classic literature--"Jane Eyre," "The Count of Monte Cristo," "Little Women (still)," "Gone With the Wind," "To Kill a Mockingbird..."
I've said it before, "Jane Eyre" is my favorite book of all time. I don't know why. I just like it.
What are YOUR favorite books or stories?