I’d like to share with you a love affair I have been carrying on for nearly seventy years. It is such a wonderful thing, it never lets me down, if I walk away for a day or week I can return and pick up right where we were and there are no bad feelings. I can tell others the most intimate details, I can even share it. I once joined a club that catered to my passion, imagine receiving catalogs supporting my love affair, an affair that started with my mother. She would sit on my bed at night and read to me, my first book took a long time to read all the adventures, stories, I still have the book; “Uncle Wiggily’s Story Book.” Uncle Wiggily is a rabbit and he would go through the sort of things we all faced as children; “Uncle Wiggily’s Toothache” “Uncle Wiggily’s Mumps” “Uncle Wiggily’s Measles” “Uncle Wiggily’s Chicken-Pox” how about “Uncle Wiggily and the cut finger”? Forty-four stories with illustrations of Uncle Wiggily and his friends.
Every night another story that sent me off to sleep with imaginative dreams that sparked my imagination and fired my desire to read and to write. I read everything I could, books from the school book club; at the end of the school year we could buy books to read during the summer from a catalog, paperbacks for a quarter to fifty cents. I saved my money and my parents and grandmother matched what I saved to buy books. I bought and read eight books one summer along with the Sunday funnies, magazines, and comic books, my thirst for reading grew. In school I became fascinated with history as well as literature and novels.
True stories, biographies, mysteries, horror I couldn’t get enough to read, enough knowledge, imagination, and dreams. I read to my sons and made sure they had access to books, to imagination, to the world through the written word. Imagine reading “I Am Third” “Of Mice and Men” “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” over spring break. Nothing expands the mind, quenches a thirst for knowledge expands your vocabulary like reading. I love giving the gifts of reading; Christmas, birthdays, or just as a gift that I can share with those I love, the love of reading. Few things thrill me like discussing the books my sons are reading, except maybe seeing them reading the book I wrote about raising them: “A Father’s Reflections.”