Reading Is Fundamental

Mom probably thought I was nuts yesterday when I called her to ask how old I was when I learned how to read. I have no recollection of actually learning, it seems like I’ve always just known, but apparently Mom doesn’t remember either. She only recalls that I knew before I hit elementary school, since she was always reading to us constantly. I took this as good news, although there were some people on one of my posting boards who have stories about reading newspapers to their parents when they were three. (Three?!) I *think* my first non-picture books were probably Bobbsey Twins books, which Mom says I was reading by the time I was seven (which means six for the sis, since we read them at the same time). When I think Bobbsey Twins, I remember Grandma taking the sis and I to Jordan Marsh in Malden Square, which was the only store (that I know of) that sold them, and letting us pick out a book each. I think we gave the not quite complete set to our cousins, but I’m not sure.

I remember reading the Chronicles of Narnia when I was around ten or eleven. I can still see myself sitting in sixth grade – dammit, what was my teacher’s name? Miss Canniff maybe? Anyway, I’d be sitting there in the first row with a book in my lap under the desk, completely not paying attention to the lesson. I was at the head of the class that year (which was weird, since I was near the bottom of the class the year before – maybe Ms. Train just really didn’t like me), so she usually just ignored me, although I think she did call me on it once.

My two favorite books back then were Swiss Family Robinson and The Black Stallion, both of which I would reread every summer until sometime in high school. I tried rereading SFR a few months ago and was turned off by the religion and the family’s willingness to hit the dogs. Weird. I’m reluctant to try again, and risk tainting my fond memories of the story.

This post doesn’t really have any purpose, I’m just putting it in writing for the next time I try to remember this stuff. 🙂

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