October 28, 2012

Sharing Memories (Week 44): I Love Books!

Sharing Memories: I love Books!
Welcome to Week 44 of our 52 weeks of Sharing Memories - A Genealogy Journey for 2012.   I hope you'll join in writing your memoirs and childhood memories for your descendants.

If you are just joining us, please take a peek at over 150 earlier prompts by clicking on the Sharing Memories tab at the top of Olive Tree Genealogy blog. You can jump in at any time and you can skip topics that you don't like. There are no rules, it's all about getting your memories down on paper. The prompts are here as a guide to help if you are stuck for ideas.

Books have always been a pretty big deal in my life. As a child I remember my mother going to the Library every couple of weeks and exchanging her books. She was an avid reader and although we didn't have much, we did have a bookcase full of books. And there was no censorship in our house. Whatever I wanted to read, I could. Except Romance Novels or Romance comic books - those were forbidden.

I don't honestly remember my mother ever taking us kids to the library to choose children's books and I don't recall having any picture books in the house. But from about age 6 on I struggled through Reader's Digest stories! My Mom subscribed to that magazine so it was always available.

My dad must have subscribed to some Detective magazine because I recall devouring the "true" crime stories from about age 10 on. I can't see my mom reading those so it must have been dad.

I read anything I could get my hands on - cereal boxes, labels, it didn't matter. We often ate our breakfast or lunches alone and both my sister and I would grab books or a cereal box to read while we ate. My mom read almost non-stop. We didn't have a television until I was 9 and my mom wasn't a big tv fan anyway. So she read and knitted every night after supper.

My dad taught me to read at a very young age, and when I went to Kindergarten at age 4 (almost 5) I could already read most of the picture books. Dad and I used to sit to read The Toronto Star together. I'd struggle with most of the words and Dad would help me sound them out. I would sit on his knee so I was about 5.

My mother was on the Library Board and my older sister worked in the local Library, then when I turned 14 I too went to work there! Books and Libraries were just a normal part of life for me. I joined the High School Newspaper as a reporter/journalist and loved it. In University I was once more a reporter for the University newspaper.

So I went from books to writing and then to Libraries - a natural progression for me and adding another book-related hobby didn't push the others aside.

After my marriage (my first one) I went to work in the Toronto Public Library system and worked in two different libraries in the city for several years until we left Toronto in 1971.

And then as a genealogist what do I do? I frequent Libraries and Archives and read books and documents! For fun. It seems it's always been in my blood.

I used to read at least one book a week but a few years ago I was diagnosed with Cogan's Dystrophy which is a painful eye condition. Basically the outer layer of  the cornea of my eyes cracks or splits,  then scar tissue forms, and then sloughs off. When I have an episode, my vision blurs (often for hours) and I experience pain and sensitivity to light. The pain lasts for days and I have trouble seeing.

Reading is now very difficult for me and I reserve my limited reading time to working on my computer, doing my genealogy and writing my blogs! I miss reading a good book and know I'm going to have to look into books I can listen to instead. But it won't be the same.

How have books affected your life?


The Grandmother Here said...

I love to read. But when I go into the library and see rows and rows of shelves I am overwhelmed. I don't want anything nasty. A friend told me about www.goodreads.com. It's rather like facebook in that you have friends and you can see what they've been reading and what they thought of it.

Mariann Regan said...

Wow, I am so sorry to hear about your current condition! It sounds so painful and frustrating! I spent my childhood "with my nose in a book," and then I went to grad school in English so that I could spend my career with books, both reading and writing them. I really relate to your post. Thank you!

Patti said...

An only child for four and a half years, I was my mother's little pet pupil. She taught me how to read by the time I was four. My Dad also held me on his lap every night, and we would read the "funny papers" together. I can still picture that blue upholstered reading chair with the comfy pillows. How content I was to snuggle in my Daddy's lap, surrounded by newspaper! And I loved to smell the print! My Mom said I usually had a nose blackened by newspaper print. I love my books; they are like friends to me. I treat them with TLC, never breaking the binding or mangling the pages. It is hard to part with a book once I have read it. It's almost like it becomes a part of me---literally. I was so sad to hear of your eye condition. I hope you are able to enjoy books on tape soon. Thanks for sparking some treasured childhood memories.