Age Four: The Book Spoiler

By  the time I was four, I was already in love with books.

My favorite (which I still have) was Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hatches the Egg. It’s inscribed to me from my mother’s best friend, a gift on my fourth birthday. I memorized every line of Horton and demanded to hear it read over and over. My parents got so tired of reading it that they would skip parts. I was having none of that. Whatever they skipped, I would recite, make them go back, and “read it right.”

Budding artist/writer

I loved other books, too, like the Pooh series, and Uncle Wiggly.

Made sense to me

What?! My parents allowed me to deface my books? Apparently so. This isn’t the only one. I embellished most of my books this way. I added to the stories. They wouldn’t be worth much on the collectibles market, would they? But they’re special to me.

A little fashion artwork

A. A. Milne’s illustrations didn’t do it for me. I had to add a little artwork of my own.

Only child. Quiet house. Books and crayons. I was drawn to imagination and the world of stories. It took a while for me to discover that I really could be a storyteller. Years and years. But here are my beginnings.

What role did books play in your early childhood?

This is Day Four of Jane Ann McLachlan’s October Memoir and Backstory Blog Challenge. Follow the link to learn more.

23 thoughts on “Age Four: The Book Spoiler

  1. “Only child. Quiet house. Books and crayons. I was drawn to imagination and the world of stories.” All this has permeated your life even as an adult. Isn’t it wonderful?

  2. I don’t remember books from my childhood, except the old set of encyclopedias that my grandparents had and a few old history books that my mother kept for some reason. Great stuff!

    1. I forgot to add how much this reminds me of my oldest daughter and her love of books from the very beginning. She is a journalism major at Indiana University now and loves reading and writing.

  3. LOVE this. Books affected me tremendously when I was small – The House at Pooh Corner, Honey Bunch, A Child’s Garden of Verses – they all made me know I wanted to write my own stories one day that people would read and love 🙂

  4. I was an early reader, too. Probably because of the neighbor with the wooden spools. 😉 I received a big book of fairy tales from my mom’s best friend when I was 6 or 7. The illustrations, by Janet and Anne Grahame Johnstone, were beyond breathtaking. I literally loved that book to pieces. After moving a couple times in early adulthood, I lost it. My first Ebay purchase was another, more gently used copy.

  5. Such a bright and colorful post! I didn’t and don’t write in books. That might be a requirement to grow up to be a librarian.

    1. It’s really surprising that my parents let me get away with that. It’s not just one or two books, either. I was “expressing myself,” I guess. I loved the library, though. Where else would you want to go on a hot summer day?

  6. My grandma worshiped books and magazines. I remember the horror as a young child at seeing the beloved Reader’s Digest folded into a resemblance of a Christmas tree, spray painted and bejeweled. I had the same reaction the first time I encountered taxidermy. That said, it was common practice to write love notes of appreciation…like yours above…into cherished books. 🙂

    1. Hmm. I never did *that* with books. I was pretty hard on them, apparently. And yet they survived all these years. Not too long ago, my granddaughter found my childhood copy of Grimm’s Fairy Tales and read it in a weekend. Special.

  7. Gerry, I think it is a good thing they let you write and draw in your books. You may not enjoy books as well as you do, if they had not. I love the ladies’ crooked smile.

    1. It’s surprising to me that they let me do that, but they always encouraged art and reading and music. The early record albums may need to be a separate post. And the radio shows we listened to . . .

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