Friday, May 11, 2007

Confessions of a Bookaholic

This is for Maddie, Ella and Sam.

Dear Sweeties,

This is the story of how Nonnie became a bookaholic:

There were no books in our home (except a Bible) when I was a toddler.
Poverty precluded books. I do remember our getting a box of hand-me-downs from a friend of my Granny Tucker (your great-great grandmother). In that box was a book about bears through the seasons. I do not remember its title, but I treasured it until it fell apart.

When I began school, there was no school library in my elementary school in Hamlin. I do not remember being read to by any teacher. There was an occasion I remember when a first grader came and read to our third grade class. His name was Ted Wright, and he was obviously very gifted. He skipped several grades, and we graduated from high school together. My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, had a few books in her classroom--most were old readers and other cast-offs. We could read them in the classroom, but were not allowed to take them home. Mrs. Griggs, my sixth-grade art teacher once took a trip to New Orleans. When she came home, her mouth was full of tales about beignets, thick coffee and Oysters Rockefeller. She read us Frances Parkinson Keyes' Dinner at Antoines. I can't imagine a sixth grade class listening to it today, but it was a very special time for a book-starved student like me.

In the days between elementary and middle school, my brothers and I would save our pennies and go to town to buy comic books for 25 cents each. My favorites were the Classic Illustrated comics which took a classic book like Treasure Island and illustrated the story with comics.
Superman, Wonder Woman, and Archie and Veronica were favorites too.
After we had accumulated several comic books, we could take them to town and trade them by giving 2 used books for 1 free used book.

My mom loved reading, and when she got a few pennies ahead, she would buy magazines like Redbook and Ladies' Home Journal. That was before Redbook became so salacious. Redbook always had a novel
in each issue, and I remember reading that avidly. Our town had no public library, so that was really my only link to fictional reading.

Chapter 2 tomorrow.

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