I loved this post because it reminded me of my own childhood memories - memories of my mother reading aloud to the six of us, as we lay in our beds at night. Mom sat on a foot stool in the hallway, and, by a dim light, read books, books that she deemed age appropriate, though I doubt others would have shared her judgment. I recall, for instance, being six years old when Mom read, "The Moonstone," to us. I have no recollection, whatsoever, of the book itself. The story line is a complete mystery to me. But I do recall learning the word, "melancholy" from that book. The word sounded so odd to me. I heard it as "melon - collie," my six year old brain trying to fathom what those two words could possibly mean when strung together. When I asked her what it meant, she told us it meant, "sad." I liked the sound of, "melancholy" better and never forgot that word.
Mom read to us several nights a week, reading a chapter or two from the book. We were always left looking forward to the next night's chapter. She ended each nightly reading with a passage from the Bible. I'm afraid I thought of these as just more interesting stories, at that age. Nevertheless, I heard, I'm sure, the majority of the Bible this way.
Mom didn't just read aloud to her children, either. We had no TV, though everyone we knew did. My parents were not inclined to get one, believing there was a better way to raise children. After all, they had not been raised with TV, and they turned out fine, didn't they? So, our family did a lot of reading. Mom read aloud to Dad at night, after we children were tucked into bed. Dad sat on the couch, hooking his latest rug (Dad worked in the office all day and relaxed in the evening, making rugs). Mom always read murder mysteries, who-done-it type books to Dad. I don't recall her ever reading the Classics to him, but I recall Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, and John Creasy's "the Toff." In retrospect, I suppose it was a great way to ensure we kids went right to sleep, because we were allowed to listen to these stories too, leaving our bedroom doors open so we could hear, but we had to be very quiet.
On nights that Mom did not read to us, Dad usually sat with us in my brothers' bedroom, lights out, and we sang . He ended each night with, "Danny Boy," "Over in Killarney," and "All Through the Night." We'd then sing our prayers, before our parents kissed us goodnight.
By the time I was about 13, the whole gang singing in the dark in the boys' bedroom was a thing of the past, as was Mom's reading to us at night. In those years, though, I'm sure Mom must have read us about the same number of books as my friend read his children. I don't know if she kept a list. If she did, I'd love to see it. Nevertheless, the reading of those books, if not the books themselves, remains forever among the best of my childhood memories.
It was nice reading my friend's list, after coming in from another afternoon of planting. The list evoked good memories, even as we continue to make more memories.
|Joe Planting Apricot Tree|
|Judy Planting Wisteria|
|Yesterday Morning Sunrise|
|Yesterday Evening Sunset|
|And a Rainbow|
|Osprey in Flight at the Pond House on Sunday|
|Osprey Making His Landing|
|The Fish Were Jumping,|
But My Trigger Finger was too Slow