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Flashback Friday ~ Two Weeks Late

This is the Saturday, Two Weeks Late Edition of Flashback Friday
brought to you by Quilldancer.

Flashback Friday is the brain child of Linda from Mocha With Linda.  This is the meme that takes us back in time to the days of our youth. Linda says, This meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been! This weeks Linda wants us to share our childhood reading experiences.

Did you like to read when you were a child? What were your favorite genres, books or series? Did you read books because of the author or because of the title/plot? Did you own many books? Did your school distribute the Scholastic book orders (or some other type)? Did you visit the library often? Was there a summer reading program when you were young, and did you participate? Do you have any particular memories of your school libraries? What were your favorites and least favorites among the classics (the ones high school English teachers assign!)? If you didn’t like reading, do you like it more today than you did then?

I used to sit on the big red chair-com-foot stool in Gram’s kitchen and read aloud to her while she cooked dinner. It is one of my more treasured childhood memories. My favorite books were by Dr. Seuss and I belonged to the club. When the books arrived every month I couldn’t wait to tear them out of the box and read them. My favorites were Hop on Pop and Green Eggs & Ham.

One Summer day when I was six I asked Gram to take me to the library. She had cookies to bake for some stupid charity bake sale (my 6 year old opinion) so I snuck out of the house and went by myself. It was a two mile hike — a big undertaking for a six year old. Since I wasn’t allowed to cross streets alone, I had to wait on corners for other people to come, then I walked across with them.

When I got to the library the steps were very high, the door was very heavy and I had to go to the bathroom. I stood outside pulling on the door — couldn’t budge it — and finally a man came and opened it. I ran straight to the bathroom. I couldn’t reach the cord to pull the light on, and I was afraid to shut the door because it was too dark. A lady came and helped me. Finally I climbed the stairs to the second story of the library (the children’s section) and there were all my friends arranged in straight rows on pristine shelves. They were waiting to take me magical places. I grabbed one, climbed into the window seat and went fast asleep.

I woke to my Gram shaking me.  She was a bit upset.  It seems she thought I was missing.  I wasn’t.  I knew where I was all along.  Grown ups are strange.

I loved the scholastic book orders.  Gram almost always let me order a 50 cent book (Can you believe they were that cheap?) and occasionally I got to order a more expensive book, too.  My favorite Scholastic Book was, “The Wednesday Witch.”  I wish I had a copy of it now, but I can never find one anywhere and I don’t remember the author.

Our school library was not a fun place to visit.  We weren’t allowed to talk or whisper or breathe or think.  Whatever book we touched first was the one we had to check out.  We had to keep it for a whole week no matter how fast we read it or how much we hated it.  Our school librarian certainly knew nothing about nurturing readers.

I don’t think I was ever assigned a book in high school that I didn’t end up loving.  Pride and Prejudice, The Old Man and The Sea, A Tale of Two Cities, 1984, I loved them all and others, too.  I even enjoyed the Shakespeare plays once I got used to the language.

In the 11th grade my honors English teacher gave us a list of 100 books and told us he wanted analytical papers on 5 of them.  I looked the list over and realized I had read a good many of the books.  I wrote all five papers the first week and turned them in at once.  Mr. Isitt was impressed.  He took the list and talked with me about all of the books I had read — then he chose 4 I hadn’t read and assigned them, along with 4 more papers. Those books were The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, by far the most difficult books on the list.  I still finished them before the semester ended, so he assigned Watership Down.  No one else read that many books that semester.  It never occurred to me that it wasn’t fair and I didn’t think to complain.  I loved the books — all of them.

As for today — I really don’t have to tell you how I feel about reading do I?


  1. I loved Dr. Seuss too. My uncle had all the books still from when he was a kid and he gave them to us. I wish we’d kept them, but we sold the set when my Dad lost his job and we needed the money.

    1. Teresa — I gave all of my toys and books to my sister’s kids, who did a lousy job of taking care of them. My niece traded all of my handmade Barbie clothes for store bought flimsy clothes.

  2. Quilly, was it The Wednesday Witch by Ruth Chew? It has a picture of a witch flying above a little girl dressed in a red shirt and red socks.
    Oh how I loved the scholastic book orders. Also, I enjoyed reading Highlights, my grandmother would buy them for my brother and I when we were younger. I think I was more of a magazine reader then…and today still love magazines.

    1. Tammy — yes! That was it. Thanks to you I just found it on for $74.00 — it’s a collector’s item! I guess I won’t be buying it!

  3. Wow – Loved the story of your trek to the public library! I’m sure your grandmother was frantic! And pooh on the school library – guess they didn’t know about the 10-finger rule (or something like that) that my kids’ librarian had – open the book and read the first pages and if you find 10 words you don’t know, it’s too hard for your level.

    I may just have to give Tale of Two Cities another try.

    1. The librarian was my Sunday School teacher. As soon as she realized Gram wasn’t in the library, she phoned my home. Gram was still baking her cookies and until the phone rang she thought I was at the neighbor’s.

  4. Watership Down was one of my favorite books for the longest time. I still think of that book anytime I see a bunny in the yard.

  5. i have always loved books except those that were assigned as mandatory reading. must have to do something with the literature teacher – she was a complete bore.

    1. Polona — I had one of those, too, but luckily most of my language arts teachers (reading, writing, etc.) were engaged and passionate about their subjects, which helped engage me.

  6. Wow, that school librarian sure knew how to squelch an interest in reading.

    Loved the trip to the library, though, as an adult, I’d be frantic if a child in my charge went missing like that.

    I have never read Watership Down and need to.

    1. Barbara — now, as an adult, I would flip if a kid did that to me. Rather than being punished I was sort of rewarded. The reason I went to the library is because kids were only allowed two books. (Grown ups had an eleven book limit.) Gram went to the library every other Saturday. My two books got pretty boring after 14 days. That day they upped my limit to 11 books, just like Gram.

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