A good sign

Saul is developing into an extremely active child. He is rarely happy sitting still and seems to have an endless reserve of energy.

But in the last few weeks, he has discovered books. We have long had in place our ritual reading of Where the Wild Things Are every night before bed, but now, if I set him in my lap, he will sit quietly while we read a few board books. And when he is playing on the floor, he frequently goes over to where the books are and looks at some pictures.

I know that looking at picture books doesn't really translate into reading Tolstoy, but I hope he will discover the same magical ability I did as a kid - to fall completely and totally into another universe. There are so many books that I look forward to reading with him - I can't wait until he's old enough to read James and the Giant Peach and Little House on the Prairie and Huckleberry Finn and all the other wonderful kids books.

I remember visiting my Granny (an antique dealer) one summer and being vaguely bored. I was wandering around the house, poking around on shelves where there were always interesting old things to look at, when I came across a stash of books printed in the thirties and forties. Among them was Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island, some original Nancy Drew books, and a book of unedited Grimm's fairy tales, which was so gruesome that I hid it under my mattress, convinced that if a grown-up saw it they would take it away from me.

I remember being stretched out on my stomach in my bedroom reading Anne of Green Gables. I remember the first time I read The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and how I secretly checked out all the antique wardrobes at my Granny's house just to make sure. I remember sitting in the branches of a tree in our front yard, reading Encyclopedia Brown and feeling like a genius when I figured out the mystery before the end.

Some of my favorite memories of childhood are from the summers when my Mom worked part time as secretary for our church. My sister and I had to go with her and we would spend the morning running around the dusty sanctuary and goofing around on the piano. If we behaved ourselves, we would go afterward to the library. I was allowed to get as many books as I could carry in my two hands, and I remember stacking books up to my chin. We would go home and my Mom would make us a pot of Rice-A-Roni and grilled cheese sandwiches. Then all three of us would sprawl out in the den and read in the cool darkness - my Mom with an Agatha Christie novel, me with something by Madeleine L'Engle or Orson Scott Card, and my sister with a stack of Berenstain Bears.

To me, not being able to read seems like one of the most horrible handicaps imaginable. I hope Saul loves to read as much as I do. As soon as he's old enough, I am quite prepared to take a week off of work every summer and spend the day exploring the library and eating grilled cheeses.

1 comment:

kathy said...

wow, brings back memories - i had forgotten all about encyclopedia brown... i loved those books!