Monday, December 7, 2009
More memory treasures
I remember back when I was small watching my brother spend hours with his comic book collection. Glancing over his shoulder, I queried, "How do you know which pictures you look at next?" To my young eye, there were a bunch of boxes and colorful drawings in each and I didn't understand what order I was to direct my eyes.
Being who he was, he huffed,"When you know how to read, you follow the words."
I was now determined to learn to read, so that I could enjoy his comic books. My mom assisted me in this quest, by reading to me everyday and supplying me with those precious Golden Books. One of my favorite books was "Nurse Nancy" because it came with its own small supply of band aides in the back. I also loved "Little Black Sambo", "Pokey Little Puppy" and "Cinderella."
At the time she worked in the stockroom of Woolworth. For those younger than me, let me just say that Woolworth was like a Walmart, only cooler. There was a lunch counter, anything you might need for the house and best of all a toy department that was like a little girl's dream come true.
My mom got to see all the newest toys, before they even made it downstairs. Everything from the upstairs stockroom was moved by way of the conveyor belt. I can still see those rollers and the thick, black rubber mat that slide around them. Sometimes, I even got to push the big red button to make it start moving. It would sort of jump and then the rollers moved the belt in its never ending journey.
On rare occasions I got to go with my mom to her work (now I wonder if it was a necessity or just because she wanted to take me.) I was a social kid and all the people who worked there seemed to enjoy the time I spent with them. At break time we would eat at the lunch counter and I remember the paper straws in the coke glasses and watching the lunch lady make up the toast for the sandwiches. Funny how that same meal tasted better there than at home.
I was happy hanging out with my mom and didn't fully appreciate the hard labor involved with lifting of the heavy cardboard cartons and standing all day long on the cement floor price marking the merchandise. Back then everything had its own price tag, because there wasn't such a thing as bar codes and scanners to read them.
When I was six, hula-hoops were a huge craze and the manager of the store had me demonstrate them in front of the store. I was able to keep quite a few going at one time and for years afterward, my mom would tell that story with pride in her voice. Each time she told the story throughout the years, the number of hula-hoops I spun grew but I never corrected her.
When I first started this writing it was going to be about my love for reading, but somehow it morphed into something else. I know that my love for reading is entwined with my love for my mom, because she encourage my exploring worlds through words. No wonder that I spent most of my teaching years sharing that love of the written word with my students.
I have a tee-shirt that has a funny picture on the front of a lady sitting by a huge stack of books and the words, "There is no such thing as too many books." I totally agree with that, with one caveat, when you are moving there are TOO MANY DARN BOOKS to carry.