I think many of us have a story we remember above all others. Maybe not because of the snazzy cover or even because of the story itself, but because someone took the time to read it aloud and brought the characters to life in our minds back when we were still young enough to have a fantastic imagination, yet old enough to appreciate an interesting tale.
For me, growing up on a farm didn’t allow a lot of time for reading that I can remember, not even at bedtime. I was the youngest of five children–by a mile. Chores came first, and learning, a distant last place. It was the way of things and it was a good life.
However, there is one moment that sticks out in my mind and always will. Every time I think of it my heart gives off a little glow. My second oldest sister, Kathy (ten years my senior) and I were about as different as two creatures could be and still be the same sex and species. She was the mom in training and I was the tom boy, riding my motorcycle and driving heavy machinery, all with my head in the clouds. I’m sure we had our battles, but that isn’t what I remember most about our time together on the farm.
This particular day in my memory, she sat me down on the front veranda and started reading from Folk of the Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. The scent of fresh cut hay and clover perfumed the air. It wasn’t Moon-Face, Silky the fairy, The Saucepan Man, Dame Washalot, or Mr. Watzisname that affected me so profoundly, but that my sister took the time to read it to me. Yes, the magical tree that reached into the clouds, leading to a different fantastical place each time, kept my attention and thrilled me to no end, but without my sister giving animation to the characters, it wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable. I’ve already purchased the entire series to read to my daughter.
So you see, a small effort by my sister began a love of stories in me that I’ll pass on to my daughter, and hopefully she’ll do the same if she decides to become a mom.
The words on the page become so much more when read by a loving voice. A child will always remember the time spent with them. It doesn’t take a lot of time or patience, only a book, a quiet corner to cuddle up in and a pair of ears to listen. And they will listen.
What story do you remember most as a child?