Monday, September 29, 2014

Rainy Days and Mondays

When I was a youngster, I enjoyed rainy days. Those were days I was allowed to stay 'inside' and actively urged to read. Unlike many of my peers, our family didn't have a television. We had books. Lots of books. When I was around eight or so, my parents bought a sixteen volume set of children's books. Each thick red-bound book had a different theme...mysteries, sci-fi, poetry, stories for young readers, sports, unusual fairy tales and legends, stories for teens. I still have the books. I still read them.

The books were my first exposure to the best-of-the-best in literature. It was in these books I read my first O. Henry, my first Edgar Allen Poe, my first stories about the old west, outer space, and Shakespeare. They opened infinite new worlds for me. In their pages I met a young Michelangelo, Paul Bunyan, Mollie Pitcher, other intrepid young colonial and pioneer girls, and learned there were all sorts of possibilities for me.

For much of my pre-adult life, I lived in small, insular towns where women's roles were sharply, narrowly defined. Television in the fifties and sixties wasn't much better. But in this set of books I found a place where girls and women lived a wider role in society. Girls had adventures. They had dreams. They had desires that had nothing to do with sticking to the traditional roles of society at that time.

That set of volumes was the foundation for my life-long love of books. To this day, I associate rainy days with snuggling under a warm cover with a thick book. Reading--the best way to spend a rainy day.

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