Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Books I read

"There are two motives for reading a book; one, that you enjoy it; the other, that you can boast about it."
— Bertrand Russell

I've been on a reading frenzy of late. I think it might be because school has begun and there are things that I need to do in place of things I want to do. I've loved to read as long as I can remember. My first love was Dr. Suess. My Mother bought a subscription to a "Dr. Suess book club" I suppose. Each month a new book arrived in the mail. Oh how I loved those books. I remember Mother reading to me at night, until I started reading them myself. Many times falling asleep with one in my hand.

When I was old enough to get my library card (you had to able to write your name in cursive), I found a treasure chest of friends. I met Heidi, Alice, and Dorothy. Oh Dorothy and I became fast friends. Did you know there is a complete series of "The Wizard of Oz" books. I can close my eyes and describe exactly where they were located in our public library (left corner back wall, bottom shelf - children's room). It wasn't long before I met Nancy and set out to solve each and every mystery she encountered.

When Scarlet entered my life I was recuperating from a bout with the flu; I considered myself quite the "southern belle", until we found ourselves treating wounded soldiers in a field hospital.  I turned absolutely green (using my  best southern voice) while reading the vivid descriptions of the wounds we were treating.  Scarlet had to wait until I was well before we could continue on our trek through the civil war and on into reconstruction.

I soon found a kindred spirit,  Francie Nolan (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn).   I loved the thought of starting with the A's and reading through the library.     I loved she had a place outside to escape and read.  I especially loved her Saturday ritual of going to  the Library for books, stopping by the candy store for a  small purchase, returning home with her treasures and spending her day  in solitude savoring  her treats.    I never did try to read through the library; I did begin going out and sitting on my front door steps to read.  Often I read aloud to my cat who was curled up in my lap.  

Recently, I traveled to the nineteenth century  and searched the the shores for Remarkable Creatures, listened to a Tinker(s) revisit his youth in the last hours before his death,  witnessed  the Salem witch trials after discovering The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane, and searched relics left by imprisoned  Japanese Americans at the Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  I found a lost identity in The Forgotten Garden.   I was rescued by The Blessings of the Animals after being offended on so many levels by A Reliable Wife.   Lastly, I cherish the time spent with Lilly Casey Smith as she spun the tales of Half Broke Horses.

Books worth bragging about?  I don't think so.  Enjoyable?  Some more than others.    Now you know how I spent some of my summer vacation.  I can't think of a better way to stay cool when the temperatures reach 105+.

Summer is over, and when I have time  I will relax and Let the Great World Spin
before me.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


The first week of the school year is behind me, and I am exhausted!

This year I moved into a new classroom in a newly remodeled building. My old room was in the "back hall" of the building. It was small and had one window letting in very little light. I had very little storage; I managed with a tall metal cabinet and a file cabinet, both had seen better days when I inherited them. I had a small bulletin board that I took great pains and pleasure filling with either my artwork or my children's, and a poorly placed chalkboard. When it was hot outside my room was freezing. When it was cold my room was an oven. The carpet was a few years old, but had paint stains.

Several years ago, while my back was turned, three of my girls decided to walk a purple paint filled paint brush across the carpet in the back of the room. When I ask what happened they informed me that the "church mouse" turned the purple paint bottle over and walked through it. I created the church mouse story after seeing a small field mouse in the back closet perched on an antique typewriter. (Not to worry, critter control was called in and all holes were sealed.) It was one of those moments when you should scold, but you can't because you are working so hard at not laughing.

My old classroom held thirteen years of memories. Memories of storytelling, laughter, tears, and yes, spilled paint. It was a room where I welcomed a new group of children each September and bid them a tearful goodbye in May. My old classroom is now the teacher's workroom and part of another classroom.

My new classroom is at the end of the main hall. While not big, it has three big windows allowing in a lot of light. I have a full wall of beautiful woodgrain built-in shelves and cabinets without the dents and layers of paint. They finally hung my bulletin board Wednesday afternoon. It is eight by four! I divided it to make two display areas. I still don't have coat hooks or a chalkboard; I have notes up where I want them placed, they will appear one day soon. They are still working on adjusting my thermostat. My new floor is rubber, not carpet. I will be able to wipe up any "mouse footprints" should he decide to visit my room again.

My new classroom doesn't have the memories attached to it, but is a clean canvas for painting new memories. My bulletin board is embellished; and, even though I have no idea where anything is, I greeted a new group of children this last week.

What I know: Memories are not created by a room, but by those who enter and leave a piece of themselves. Memories are not held in a room, but in the heart.

Yes, I have been a little discombobulated this week, but I am truly blessed to be allowed to do what I do five days a week.