My parents popped in for a quick visit today. Today is their wedding anniversary (39th) and they were off for a weekend away. Seeing them made me a bit reflective about growing up.
I can’t not remember a time in my childhood without books. Kid’s books, dad’s books, the set of encyclopedias, dictionaries (I have a tattered Concise Oxford Dictionary that used to belong to my dad). The first book I remember clearly was a Little Golden Book called Susie’s new stove. Mum made me countless stoves out of cardboard- I think I was about 4 or 5 at the time.
My favourite stories were fairy stories, Enid Blyton (especially Famous Five and Secret Seven)- basically anything I could get my hands on. The Scholastic Book Club at primary school was great, where you could get a book for a couple of dollars. The supermarket had books there as well-I remember one time being ill and mum coming back from the supermarket with a Trixie Belden book.
Saturday mornings were spent going to the library. Dad would take all of four of us- to get books, and to give mum an hour’s peace as well, looking back now. When I grew older, I was either going to ballet or netball on a Saturday, but I still found time to to visit the library.
I read everywhere, bed especially. In summer I used to wake up with the sun and read while my sister slept in the next bed. At night I used to read in the dark, straining my eyes in the dusk. That certainly did not help my eyesight, and have been keeping several optometrists busy since the age of ten!
I remember mum reading us stories (she went into labour with my brother while reading my sister and I The story of Ferdinand) but I don’t remember her reading for her own enjoyment. She was too busy looking after us and the house and working. Now she’s retired she loves nothing more than to sit and read.
One of the best things my mum and dad did for me was to instil a love of reading. I didn’t become a librarian because I loved to read, though my mum thought my choice was apt, but it helps.
For me, reading is not a hobby- it’s essential to my wellbeing like eating and drinking. I still read in bed too- my favourite place :).