A Childhood Memory

November 1, 2010 | My Jottings

When I was three years old my maternal grandparents sold their cattle farm in Kansas and moved to Southern California to be closer to our family. We used to visit Grandpa and Grandma McInteer’s house in Covina almost every Sunday.

I remember riding my tricycle in their circular driveway. I remember the cookies by Nabisco called Ideals that Grandma used to have on hand. I wish Nabisco still made Ideal cookies. They were peanut buttery and dipped in chocolate. And they tasted best with a cold glass of milk within reach. On second thought, it’s probably good that Nabisco doesn’t make Ideals anymore. My grandparents also had a sprightly yellow canary on their back porch named Mr. Clean, called so because he bathed in his water more than he drank it. We always watched “The Wonderful World of Disney” on those Sunday nights. I remember that, while I knew they cared about me, neither Grandpa or Grandma talked to me very much.

And behind the couch in their small living room, this large painting hung. It’s called “The Fairy Tale” by Sir Walter Firle. I stared at that painting a lot as I was growing up, and I wondered what those three little girls were so entranced by.

Even though I didn’t know the name of this painting or the artist back then, I wonder now if it influenced me toward books. The memory of gazing at this painting is very strong.

My first recollection of being excited about books is from second grade, when Mrs. Lokken used to read the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books to our class after we came in from lunch recess. It was usually hot out, and we would come in and put our sweaty heads down on our desks, she would dim the lights in the bright, many windowed room, and all would grow quiet as Mrs. Lokken read “The Radish Cure” and the “Fighter-Quarrelers Cure” and the “Never Want To Go To Bedders Cure” to us. New worlds opened up in that school room.

If you’re a reader, what influenced you to begin reading for pleasure? Was it an elementary school teacher? A high school English teacher? A certain book? A book club you were invited to? A friend’s interest in books? A parent?

Do you remember one of the first books you read that captivated you in the way these little girls have been drawn to the pages in their book?

I look forward to reading whatever you share….