Sunday, November 23, 2014

2014 Gratitude Festival Day #21: Books from Childhood

As a little girl, my favorite happy place...the place I felt most safe...was sitting next to my Grandma Parker on her bright pink velvet couch as she read stories. She always wore a brightly colored house coat, coordinating house slippers and a complimentary string of beads always rested around her slender neck. Her hair was white and fluffy and her bifocals were carefully decorative. She always smelled of white Tic Tacs and always had a little box near by. My favorite book...our favorite book...was a tired copy if a book titled "Miss Sniff." This book records the adventures of a little black cat, perfectly named Miss Sniff, who engages in a series of wild unexpected adventures. All images of this kitten were covered in black velvet which I would carefully touch....on every page....each time we read this story. When I close my eyes...nearly thirty-five years later... I can see the images printed on the thick paper pages. Thanks to this book I learned important words like mischief and peculiar and i discovered than cats can easily fall into buckets of yellow paint should you choose to freshen up your exteriors. My sweet Grandma most likely read this story to me well over one hundred times. I loved her. I loved this book and when she died this book moved from her house to mine. Most if the velvet has now been rubbed off, the binding is brittle and the art work has faded but it does not matter to me. Books are life long treasurers. Today I am grateful for the books that shaped my childhood. Reading...the practice and the process took years to appreciate and only happened thanks to the concerted effort of a skilled mentor and educator who taught way outside the box. Today, I am grateful for the books that shaped me. Grateful for my textual lineage. Grateful for the rhyme and rhythm if Dr. Seuss. Grateful for Judy Bloom and Beverly Clearly....they must have been BFF's...don't you think?. And mostly grateful for Miss Sniff and the love that only a Grandmother can provide.

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