Summer Reading Memories

As an only child, books entertained me when there was no one to play with. I enjoyed school because I liked being around others, so summer frequently loomed as interminably long and boring. My parents were frugal, so vacations were every two years or so…if that often. (Quite frankly I only remember two long vacations that were not trips to see family!) But once a week, my mother would take me into Wichita to the Sweetbriar branch of the public library. I would check out at least 4 books, depending on the length. I eagerly anticipated those weekly trips, especially if I had zoomed through all of the books before the week was up. When I had read the ones in my possession, you could find me pulling out the World Book Encyclopedia from our bookcase at home or one of Mom’s Zane Grey westerns. (When she moved from my childhood home, she downsized…but I kept both the Zane Grey books and the yearbooks from the encyclopedia set!)

I didn’t really get an allowance as a youngster. Instead, my mom would pay me a penny for every cigarette butt I picked up in the yard. My parents were both smokers, and we though we lived in the country, our road was busy, so there were always lots of cigarette ends thrown into our ditch by passing vehicles. I saved my money for various things, but one thing I dearly loved was the Cherry Ames series of books about a young woman who went to nursing school and became a nurse. I would hunt for those books at garage sales with my hard-earned pennies. I didn’t get the entire set, but I have many of them and they still reside on my bookshelf. If I ever get around to cleaning out my basement, those books are NOT going anywhere!

Now as as an adult, my reading habits have shifted. Summer is a blur of rearranging work  schedules around other people’s vacation requests and vying for a spot of my own on the vacation roster. With all of the responsibilities on my plate, I have the attention span of a gnat and find sitting and just reading difficult. There always seems to be something needing done, and then there are the distractions of the internet…

I miss the days of just reading…whether it was Cherry Ames’s next adventure in her career, the trials and tribulations of Beautiful Joe (or any other good dog story), holiday traditions in other cultures, or a romantic love story, I could count on books transporting me to another time and place. But all is not lost…I have several historical fiction novels waiting to be read, and one of them is going to get packed for our mini vacation next week…because both of my daughters will be reading as well! So I managed to do SOMETHING right after all!

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