Monday, August 18, 2014

My family and reading or why I love to read.

Reading is a cherished memory of my family and so for me reading is a continuation of the family ties that I selected to keep.  I love reading and as far back as I can remember I read something.  My grandmother read mysteries mostly or what she termed "whodunits".  Her favorites were Perry Mason mysteries which she read over and over.  She told me it didn't matter how many times you read a book if you enjoyed and with mysteries you always knew that someone got murdered and someone did it.  Perry never lost a case and she really thought Della Street was the modern woman. 
My dad read the Bible every day - one section from the Old Testament and one section from the New.  He'd read it straight through and start over.  The other book he read everyday was the Prophecies of Nostradamus.  He really believed in it.  Years later I found a reprint of the edition he used to own and I bought a copy but I couldn't get into it. 

But really it was my Mother who encouraged me to read because she was the person who pretty much in charge of what I read.  I was lucky - she never censored my choices.  If the public library had it - then I could check it out.  After she got up and packed my dad's lunch and sent him on his way, she would stand over the floor heater in the living room and read from whatever book I had checked out.  My favorites were family stories, particularly Jewish families or orphan children who live in boxcars.  When I would get up, she'd be reading and would always ask what I thought about the book, What I liked about it.  She asked my opinion and we'd talk about it.  She never said anything to lead me to think my opinion was bad or my reading choices were incorrect.  She encouraged me to read and think about what I read without ever telling me not to read something.  As I grew up, I realized a gift she had given me.

The older I've become the more grateful I was given this gift.  The first object I ever saved up and bought for myself was a book on California wildflowers bought from a used book store.  I still own the book and look at it from time to time.  I still own a book my grandmother gave me for my birthday.  It was a thick adult book on animals.  I treasure these more than anything but I treasure the love of reading my family gave me more.

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