Today I sat for the better part of the morning, out of this grey cold drizzle of a day, tucked into the warm corner seat of a secondhand bookshop reading poetry... Ezra Pound, precise and perfect. Marge Piercy. Robert Frost. Donald Hall.
I basked in the sheer indulgence of this stolen time, undisturbed. No children. No work interruptions. Not even a nosy sales clerk asking me if I needed assistance. Which I most definitely did not.
After awhile, my eyes moved from my little pile of poetry books to the shelves to my left. "Children's Classics" had been handwritten on a piece of paper, and taped above the shelf. I was entranced. I could've spent all day there on Treasure Island or with the Swiss Family Robinson.
A few weeks ago I started making a list of the books I grew up with. I'm not sure why. I felt somehow I'd like to record this. For whom I don't know. My children, perhaps. Certainly I would love to impart to my children the same love of reading that I had as a child. I would spend hours at a time, every day, with my nose in a book.
My list looks something like this:
The Nancy Drew series
The Trixie Belden series
The Story of George Washington Carver
A Wrinkle in Time
The Bobbsey Twins
Swiss Family Robinson
Little House in the Big Woods
Island of the Blue Dolphins
My Side of the Mountain
A Child's Garden of Verses
The Little Prince
The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Call of the Wild
To Build a Fire
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.
Go Ask Alice
I would read the same books over and over again. There was such a sense of familiarity in knowing the plot and the characters. The words were like old friends that welcomed me into their lives over and over again. I felt safe in those books, happy, secure. They were a welcome escape from a less than ideal childhood.
When I finally ventured back out into the rain, my heart was lifted because I carried with me under my arm a few old friends.