Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Light One Candle

"There are some who bring a light so great to the world
that even after they have gone, the light remains."

My aunt died. She always seemed exotic to me . . . she golfed, she fished, she hunted. Suntanned, with short, curly hair, she wore shorts and sleeveless shirts and carried a thermos of coffee from room to room at my grandma's house. And she played Bridge.

In my four-year-old world where the stay-at-home moms all wore skirts, and taught primary for their extra-curricular activity, Aunt Barbara was different. Her face was wreathed in smiles, and as she got older the wreaths became permanent; she always looked happy. She married and tamed my Uncle Heller when he came home from the war (doesn't his name suggest mischief and adventure?) He taught me to "Say Uncle!" and she taught me to read.

Before I started kindergarten, she gave me a Dick and Jane book. I remember her sitting on Grandma's couch with me, sounding out cat, mat, stop, and hop, until I caught on.

A lot of people I don't remember taught me things I'll never forget. But I won't forget Aunt Barbara. She opened my world.

"I had taken to reading.
I had discovered the art of leaving my body sitting in a crumpled up heap in a chair,
while I wandered over the hills and far away in a book.
My world began to expand very rapidly.
The reading habit had got me securely."
---H.G. Wells

Who taught you to read? Did you ever thank them? Sadly, I didn't. Thank you Aunt Barbara. I hope they read blogs in heaven, don't you?


The Grandmother Here said...

Sleeveless blouses always remind me of my Aunt Barb too. ~ Diana Bobo

Kay Dennison said...

I don't remember who taught me to read but whoever it was created a monster with a lifelong passion for books!!!! My mother read to me a lot as did my paternal grandma. My dad was a great reader and I think I inherited the gene from him. The joke when I married was that it wasn't a marriage -- it was a merging of libraries -- and we passed that love on to our children. My daughter-in-law read to our boys while she was pregnant and both are becoming quite the little readers now. I don't understand people who don't read. It's opened the worlds to me where I can never go.


Reading is another gift from my mother. I remember her giving me a hard cover copy of Alice in Wonderland for my 10th birthday. And I have needed to own my books ever since. Nice to remember that.

diane said...

What a touching tribute.

I too love to read and I remember a favorite childhood book was a hard bound book of Grimm's Fairy Tales. I read them every night as a girl.
A bit grim though honestly. Some of those fairy tales are dark.

gab said...

She is surely smiling down from heaven!

You are the one who got me addicted to reading. Also butter, chocolate, sugar and caffeine.

Thank you.