My husband e-mailed me a picture of a little girl sitting in a tree reading a book. He wrote a caption that said, The next Lori Wilde? I got teary remembering how I used to climb up in my favorite tree to get away from my three younger brothers and sisters with a beloved book. It was my moment of peace when I wasn’t caretaking big sister anymore, as I was swept away in an adventure.
I’d hoist myself up in a Chinaberry tree that had a thick L-shaped branch perfect for reading. We lived on a ten acre farm surrounded by ranches and a creek ran under the Chinaberry tree so if it was summer and I got too hot, I could lay the book aside and swing down into the cool water.
Tom Sawyer was my favorite book in those days. I wanted so badly to be a boy because they had way cool adventures. (This was back in the day when girls weren’t encouraged to have adventures.) I carried a sling shot in my back pocket and I knew how to use it. In my front pocket I carried marbles, a pocketknife, an interesting rock or two I might have found. I’d read my book and pretend I was Tom Sawyer, rafting his way down the Mississippi.
Or I’d shift gears and read Laura Ingalls Wilder and I’d be out on the prairie, battling the elements and harsh frontier life.
Somewhere around thirteen I stopped climbing trees. I wasn’t interested in the pocketknives and the sling slots anymore. That was the years I got my own stereo for Christmas and it was all about Donny Osmond and David Cassidy. (Okay so I had crappy taste in music---I even liked Tony Orlando and Dawn.
I put up that picture of the little girl in the tree reading not only to remind myself of how far I’ve come. How I’ve changed and grown, but of how the cycle goes on. It warms my heart to know that out there somewhere is a kid who is finding her thrill through reading.
How about you guys? What were your favorite books growing up? What are your favorite reading memories?