Someplace To Go

The following quote appears today’s edition of the newspaper comic section.

“Reading is fun. It gives you someplace to go when you can’t go anywhere.”  Hank Ketcham for Dennis the Menace

I smiled when I read that. It reminded of all the summer days I spent reading under the grape arbor outside our home in Owego, N.Y. I loved books as much then as I do now and a visit to the library to replenish my supply was a weekly treat. Even then my choice of books was eclectic. I’d read whatever captured my imagination no matter how long or short it might be regardless of  genre.  There were so many to choose from it took my breath away. What if I missed a really good one?  There was a ten book limit and I rarely left with fewer than that. I even enjoyed carrying them home. Often they would be so heavy I’d have to stop several times to shift the load and by the time I got home there would be deep grooves cut into my forearms where the hard covers had dug into them.  A small price to pay for what was about to be revealed in the many pages I’d soon devour.

One of my fondest childhood memories came after I’d finished a book about an African safari. The descriptions of the heroine paddling a canoe through a previously undiscovered river, surrounded by the sights, sounds, and smells of the deep jungle fascinated me.  I just had to go there. And I did.

That afternoon I took the first of my many journeys of imagination. Suddenly, the picnic table and benches morphed into things of possibility.  I placed the two benches on top of the table; legs facing in; to create the sides of my canoe and climbed in. Using a broom for an oar I paddled into the jungle. Once there,I could not only see and hear the things that had been described in the book, I could change the scene at will. I loved it.  After that I spent hours in my boat reliving passages from all kinds of books even if they were set in a big city. I’d haul the huge atlas off the shelf in the living room and turn to the page for my intended destination. Usually there’d be a river nearby to navigate my way into the story. If not, I’d create one. 

I didn’t know it at the time but that was the beginning of my writing career, the day I began to create stories in my mind.

Yes indeed, “Reading is fun. It gives you someplace to go when you can’t go anywhere.”  I thank Mr. Kethcam for reminding me of that moment as I sipped my tea this morning.

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4 Responses to “Someplace To Go”

  1. Cheryl Andrews Says:

    I’ve been in love with books too … ever since I mastered phonetics! Being the oldest girl in our family, so many chores and responsibilities fell on my shoulders. When I wanted to escape and there was no where to go, I climbed to the top of the big maple beside the house with my latest book tucked in my waistband.

  2. schizophrenicwriter aka Bobbi Carducci Says:

    We are indeed kindred spirits. I loved climbing trees too. I didn’t think of reading up there but I imagine it was wonderful. I always tried to get as high as possible and lean back as far as I dared. I’d hold on tight and tip my head back and watch the clouds skitter across the sky. It was dizzying and amazing.
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. clarbojahn Says:

    As a new immigrant not well versed in English, I did the third grade twice. Mrs Grove my second third grade teacher let me sit in the back of the class and read all I wanted. As the oldest girl in a large family I, too had many chores and started work as a newspaper delivery man at age nine. I didn’t have much time for play and loved being able to read all I wanted. It did more to encourage a love for America and the language than anything else she could have done.

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