The other day someone posted a photo on my Facebook wall. The photo immediately took me back to my childhood. It was the yellow boxed set of the Little House on the Prairie books. I had that boxed set and read those books repeatedly throughout my childhood.
Interesting enough only about a week before I had gone to Amazon to search for that boxed set and added it to my wishlist. I am seriously thinking about buying it myself as a present to me for Christmas.
My love for books goes back well into my childhood. I started reading when I was 4. Books came into my house on a regular basis in many different ways. My mom bought us books probably like other parents brought their kids candy bars. We went to the library at least once a week. There were the school libraries that I borrowed books from. I was an early member of The Weekly Reader book club which sent books to my house every month. And let's not forget the Weekly Reader and Scholastic book papers that were handed out at school probably once a month.
How I loved browsing through those little sheets of paper and marking the books that I'd like to get, then taking it home and showing it to my mom. Bless her, there were very few times that I was not allowed to get a book. Of course back then I think a lot of the books were less than a dollar apiece.
Along with that there were the school Book Fairs when they actually brought in tons of books that we could look at and purchase. Paradise!
It should come as no surprise that the one piece of furniture I still own that was mine as a child is a bookcase.
I always had a book with me when I was at school. I'd scurry to get my work completed and then read. Books transported me to other times and places. Books introduced me to fascinating people. But more than that, books were my friends.
There's nothing more wonderful than climbing into a book and shutting the world out. It's not that I had to escape. Overall I had a damn good childhood. But books took me elsewhere.
I solved mysteries with all kinds of sleuths, from Trixie Belden and the Hardy Boys (some Nancy Drew, but I much preferred Frank and Joe) to Encyclopedia Brown and Sherlock Holmes. I wept over Charlotte from Charlotte’s Web, and the dogs from Old Yeller and Where the Red Fern Grows. I laughed over Pippi Longstocking, with her horse and monkey. I lived on an island with The Swiss Family Robinson.
I read inspiring biographies of Florence Nightingale, Harriet Tubman, and the surgeon who performed the first open heart surgery. In another series, I traveled to Africa with missionary doctors.
I learned American history through John Jakes and James Michener. (Yes, as a kid. I read Jake’s The Bastard in seventh grade over 2 school days. My parents had read it, let me read it, and not a single teacher batted an eye at me reading it. Let's hear it for adults around me giving me the freedom to read as I wished!)
Then I discovered science fiction and traveled the universe with Robert Heinlein, among others.
My childhood was incredibly rich because of books. Someone on Facebook posted that comfort reads are like comfort foods. Things we return to like old fuzzy blankets when life is hard.
I say it's more than that. It's a visit with an old friend.
Who are your favorite old book friends?