My parents read my sister and I plenty of books when we were younger, but the ones I remember the most are the Harry Potter books, especially since it was around the time my sister and I were learning to read on our own, which meant we were able to switch readers. As I got older, I started reading the books on my own first, but I will always remember reading the books as a family, whether it was before going to bed or while stuck in the car on trips.
I’ve always been able to read in cars and such, a blessing that apparently not everyone else has. Of course, reading on long car trips isn’t that unusual for people who are able to do so, but what I remember the most is reading on my school bus to and from school as well. Oftentimes it would be too dark to read in the mornings, but I was one of the unlucky end-of-the-route kids, so I always had plenty of time to read. There were years when I had great friends and bus rides were packed with craziness, but there were also plenty of years where I needed something to do ad therefore read. Of course, my ride was much different than this stock picture I found – I was in a uniform, forced to wear shoes and socks, and sat on the regular, uncomfortable seats of a big, yellow school bus, but it’s the reading that’s important.
I can’t remember exactly what they’re called, but I always loved getting those catalogues or newsletters or whatever they’re called that were full of books. There would be popular books, classic books, random books, and those books that came in packs or had special little trinkets that I always wanted just for the stuff but my mom wouldn’t never let me. Anyway, I always loved getting those things, even when my mom wouldn’t buy me any books. I would read each and every description for the books and packages and such, even the ones I didn’t care about or that showed up in every catalogue. And some of the books that I got from those catalogues remain my favorites to this day, including Saffy’s Angel and The Westing Game. Why don’t these continue into middle school, high school, and college as well?!
The local library was always a great place to visit, whether we were looking through the shelves of movies, computer games, CDs, or plain old books. I would go on to work there during my senior year of high school, and I survived the transition from the old library to a brand new one across the street. I have plenty of great memories of that and many other libraries, and I’m sure I’ll continue to have more.
I can’t remember how many years ago this happened, but one summer my mom decided to repaint one of our old dressers and allowed my sister and I to decorate it. We decorated each of the drawers, sides, and top based on many of our interests. My sister had things like skate boarding terms (she was obsessed with a Tony Hawk skate boarding game at the time), while most of my spaces were dedicated to some of my favorite books at the time. The dresser still sits in our upstairs hallway, and it’s nice to see all those old books and decorations.
Another library in my life was the school library. I remember the good old days when we would have weekly trips down to the library. Those books still had the little slips to check them out rather than digitally, but that made it even cooler. When we were really young, parent helpers would read stories to us before we were set free, while we later moved on to the point when we would have periods of reading time and small groups would be sent down to the library together. I remember the I Spy craze, the drawing guidebooks, and the Calvin and Hobbes obsession. I would later moved on to solely using the public library (especially since my high school library was never actually used as a library and didn’t have any good books), but I’ll always loved those good old weekly trips to the library at school, even if the librarian scared us all.
It was actually two books – when I was in seventh grade, my English class had an assignment to write and illustrate a children’s book. We were in partners, and my friend and I used our shared love of France and adorable white Persian cats to write an Eloise-esque children’s book. We loved our story, which involved the cat, named Sassy, running around the hotel she lived in with her model owner (we weren’t trying hard to differentiate it from Eloise), and it was amazing. Then, our next year, we would write a sequel with another friend for a different assignment; this book involved Sassy yet again, as she was kidnapped and became a Fancy Feast model (I think – unfortunately we never got either book back). Now I want to go out and write another Sassy the Cat book…
I also wrote another “book,” this time with my second grade class. Every year, the two second grade classes at my elementary school would write stories together as a class. Our teacher would stand at the front of the room and write down the story as different students raised their hands with ideas. Our story involved a princess who’s kidnapped and some sort of evil creatures, and it was then bound up and placed with the other books from past classes. And now I want to go back to my old school just so I can find the story and remember what it was about…
This isn’t really a memory, but I love finding old notebooks from class or outside and looking at all the different stories I’ve begun over the years. There are notebooks with barely any pages left because so many pages have already been ripped out, and there are notebooks that are empty save a page or two. I have stacks of notebooks that have old stories ideas as well as empty notebooks just waiting to be filled. I probably have a problem, come to think of it, but I really couldn’t care less.
Do you remember Borders, the bookstore that closed due to bankruptcy a couple of years ago? Well, my mom used to work next to one, so during school breaks or the summer break, my sister and I would sometimes tag along and spend hours just browsing the aisles before either dragging our mom back over to buy us books we had found or using our own money. We could then spend the rest of the day whining about going home or reading our new books. I’m sure our mom preferred the latter.
(note: all the images came from WeHeartIt.com)