In the on-going saga of cleaning the Melby basement and letting go of sentimental stuff, I stumbled on another tough one: Children's books. So I prioritized them on a 1 to 10 scale of memory-making intensity. It helped me part with a huge stack.
But these are all tens:
They are the books I distinctly remember reading to my boys. Some of them have their names inscribed in my mom's handwriting. In one, Jeff's name (in his printing) is crossed out and Mark's scrawled below it. In Baby Animals, the eyes of every animal are scribbled over in crayon. Definitely worth keeping and reading to my grandkids.
And then I unearthed a book I remember my mom reading to me. (Yes, they had books back then.) It's called Food and Clothes-- Published in 1938, reprinted in 1940, by Thomas Nelson (the original company began in 1798!)
The book is divided into two sections: Food. And Clothes. (I know. . .duh. What else would you expect considering the title?) The Food half contains "Then and Now" stories like "Milk (or Bread or Meat), A Story of Long Ago." The "then" sto
ries feature a cave man family. The "Now" stories are about a "modern" family. As a kid I loved imagining what it would have been like to be Kim or Kee (never could figure out which was the cave girl and which the boy). Looking at it now, I love that the "Then" back then is the "Long Ago" now. (Raise your hand if that made no sense at all!)
Anyway, it got me thinking that maybe my writing career actually began while I was snuggling on the "davenport" with my mom when I was three or four. Because now I'm writing contemporary stories with historical parallels -- grown-up "Then and Now" stories. My current books go back to 1852, the Roaring Twenties, and 1912. The proposal I'm working on has parallels in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. Something to remember as I snuggle up with grandkids and a pile of books.
What were your favorite books as a child? Do you see any way they influences the course of your life? I'd love to hear your stories.