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Monday, July 11, 2005

Childhood Books

So, this weekend i was cleaning out our storage closet and re-organizing it. In so doing, i came across two big boxes of books from my parent's house. My childhood books. Actually, my young adult books. The books i read to myself. It was amazing the effect they had on me. i felt like i was touching my soul like it was my body. i was impacted by each cover i came across. i could see where i was when i read them, i could feel the texture of each book. Then i remembered.

i remembered the day my mom handed me "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee. It was such a boring looking copy. Yellow with red letters... not even a picture to intrigue me. And i was in my earliest teens; totally resistant and rebellious to my mother's direction. But. i was in my grandma's car and we had a roadtrip ahead of us; and this was the book in my hand. i can feel the blue sky outside the car window. i was seated behind the driver. i opened the book... and thus began a love affair with one book. There was awhile where i re-read that book every couple years or so. i can't wait to give it to my kids. i am having to "sit on my hands" to keep me from handing it to my eight-year-old.

Anyway. i have been in awe and wonderment about the impact on me of these old books. They really are people to me. i have remet my younger self in discovering them. i am suddenly present to how my younger heart felt as i walked through each book. They were such a place of safety and refuge for me. i also came across my whole Marguerite Henry series. The books are thick papered, oversized with wonderful illustrations throughout; nothing like the modern, cheap copies i got for my kids.

A beautiful book is a treasure.


At 10:49 AM, Blogger jeffmacsimus said...

SO good to know someone else feels this way. My best friend Peter, who read a lot of philosophy, used to say "most of my closest friends are dead." I'd respond "most of mine were never really alive." But they are. So much of who I am is who they were to me. Treasure indeed.

At 1:00 PM, Blogger gloria said...

A peek into Jaime - and the power of story and word.

At 4:51 PM, Blogger sleeping with bread said...

Ohhhhh my . . . this book had a huge impact on my soul.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger The Bookman said...

I've taught "To Kill a Mockingbird" to high school sophomores for ten years, and everytime I do, I discover something new about the book. Most recently, I read for Miss Maudie's understanding of the children...truly a magnificent character. May my children have a Miss Maudie in their life. (Actually, in a way they do in Jaime.)

At 3:11 PM, Blogger Tonya said...

Oh Jaime you are a kindred soul!!! I love returning to old friends and my girls have MANY of my old books in their possession already (ie. RLS Child's Garden of Verses, as quoted in my recent blog). I read Charlette's Web to my oldest when she was just 3 and I don't honestly know which of us enjoyed it more. So many memories, so rich an experience of growing up and expanding my world view!


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