I asked my facebook friends to recall a favourite childhood Christmas memory. Every year our thoughts drift, whether consciously or not, and we remember the magic. Perhaps, that is why it is so wonderful to be with small children over Christmas. We relive the exhilaration.
I remember the anxiety; the anxiety I felt as a child trying to fall asleep Christmas Eve. Many children struggled to stay awake so they could catch sight of the big man. I knew that Santa only left presents while we slept. With my eyes squeezed shut, I would lie very still wondering if he could be fooled into thinking I had finally fallen asleep.
I counted sheep and when that did not work−that never worked−I would ...well...recite the alphabet, and then try to recite it backwards. My Dad could recite the alphabet backwards, but even when I tried my hardest I always got mixed up. Instead of getting sleepy, I accomplished just the opposite. I was, by then, wide awake.
I do not remember asking for anything specific for Christmas when I was a young girl. I loved dolls, of course, and if I were lucky, there would be a new doll to add to my menagerie. However, I did anticipate one gift like no other−a new book.
I love reading more than anything else. From my earliest memory, the book under the tree would be a new picture book or a story from the Peter Rabbit series. Even before I could read, I was always able to create my own version from the inspiring illustrations.
When I earnestly began to read, The Bobbsey Twins adventures captured my attention. Oh, how I loved to read about those curly haired kids, Flossie and Freddie. I read the same book over and over until the next book in the series found its way to me.
I would stay with my nose buried in a book until someone interrupted my reading. Go outside and get some fresh air, go play with your friends, you’ll ruin your eyes if you don’t soon put that book down, how can you read without light....
There was nothing I enjoyed more than being absorbed in a good story. I remember progressing to the Trixie Belden series of books. Trixie was adventurous and not immune to getting into trouble. Soon Trixie’s escapades gave way to Nancy Drew. Nancy Drew’s character was a little more polished but my loyalties still remained with Trixie. Yes, Trixie remains my favourite heroine. From a very early age, I became hooked on reading mysteries.
Christmas is not complete without a new book. My anticipation still revolves around reading. This year it is in the form of an e-reader. I resisted this electronic device from the onset. I love reading but I also love BOOKS. The hard cover books especially. I love the smell of books. The weight of the pages.
When I become too tired to continue reading, I leaf through the balance of the story, scanning pages and possibly reading the last paragraph or two of the book. That is the only way I can put it aside. Leave it with a promise to return soon. I love a captivating story.
It remains to be seen how I will manage with an electronic device. Running my fingers down the screen could not possibly be as pleasurable as stroking the crisply inked words on creamy thick paper. What will I do when I finish reading the book on the e-reader? Turn it off and look at a blank screen? Can I scan back through the pages re-reading favourite passages? Re-reading the introduction to my favourite characters? Yes, I am sure I can still do that.
I will try the e-reader but will never empty the shelves of my most revered copies−some of them signed copies−of my favourite books by my favourite authors.
The e-reader will certainly be convenient. I won’t have to lug a separate bag of reading material when I go on holiday. I will no longer struggle to fit a book into my purse when I leave for an appointment. Perhaps, I will even give up visiting the library. Really?? Well, after all, I can borrow e-books from the library system online.
I just learned that The Bobbsey Twins are available in e form. Perhaps, I will begin anew. Re-read all my favourites beginning with the ones that captured my imagination, back when I still pointed to each word and sounded it out as my finger moved along the page. Is that when my appreciation for the feel of a book began? Yes, I agree with you. It is quite possible.
Well, my friends, enjoy the afterglow of Christmas this week. Settle in front of the fireplace or hunker down in your favourite chair, and sidestep the blare of the TV for the quiet comfort of words and escape to a world of adventure.