(To be truthful, I believe I wrote about this before – I looked for it, but couldn’t find it, so I’ve recreated the thought. Old time readers may remember this subject).
I will never forget that bike. It was old and rickety, but it had a shelf on the back and a basket in the front. During the summer it switched over from the bat mobile, to Charlie’s Angel’s main mode of transportation but it also allowed me to do something that I enjoyed the most – go to the neighborhood library and check out tons of books – carrying them home on this bike. I have so many fond memories of my relationship with the library over the years, the fondest when I was a young girl.
Our library was the MLK Branch – right behind Booker T. Washington High School. I remember the summer the most because they used to have movies. We would all ride our bikes down there and act a plum fool in that movie room. The woman used to just start the movie (on reel to reel, remember those?) and leave us in there. We would all get in a line on the floor and all roll like nuts from one end of that room to the other, knocking into each other and the wall. What fun! I also can remember just being in love with all of the books. I would sit on the floor in the young adult section and just immerse myself in all that goodness. I could check out up to 10 books at a time, loading my bike up front and back and in the wha…2 or 3 weeks we got to have them at home, read them all.
There are a few books/series/authors that just always stuck out to me as being conduits to my fantasies and adventures as a youth.
Laura Ingalls (Wilder) and Little House on the Prarie – I remember being hooked after the first few pages. This was bout as far away as you could get and for a young black girl this was so foreign on so many levels. I voractiously read every book in this series…twice. I could curl up and just leave where I currently was. I remember sometimes being scolded because I was ignoring everyone and everything while reading these books, lol lol What a great joy when they came to life courtesy of Michael Landon and case. I was so excited as the Teenager began reading to introduce Laura to her but GASP she wasn’t really interested….
The literary works of Lois Lenski. I’m not sure how I came upon her books but it was during the Little House era. These books chronicled kids life in Amish country for the most part. They went back to a simplier time. The titles were whimiscal such as Shoo-Fly Girl etc. They are all out of print and for some reason that is emotional for me. You can get them on Ebay however and I do intend to get Shoo-Fly girl for my collection.
The Wizard of Oz series. The movie was a fantasy land the books were on the next level from fantasy. I read the books after I saw the movie and what a wonderful story. The books were so much more richer (seeing as technology wasn’t able to duplicate – at that time – the visuals you achieved by reading the books). It was my generations Twlight in a manner of speaking. Much to my delight there was a sequel! The story goes on to speak on what happened in Oz after Dorothy left. If I remember correctly there was a 3rd book as well. I have to look and see if I can find that.
Judy Blume – Um who was not more comfortable coming on their period after reading “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” Judy Blume was the first person to ever tap into what it really meant to be a young person growing up. She addresses all of those questions that our kids now get answers to via the internet. I remember reading her teenage losing of virginity classic “Forever” and feeling perfectly ready to lose mine, lol lol lol That didn’t happen till several years later, but Judy Boom was definitely everyone’s favorite mother.
Then there was Encyclopedia Brown, the Original Hardy Boys in hard back along with their co-hart Nancy Drew. Let’s not forget Pippi Longstocking and I had a thing for Paul Bunyon and that Ox of his. Their adventures were great!!
I have read so many books in my lifetime, a lot of them I can’t even remember but what I do know is that my life would not be in any kind of way complete if I did not have reading. The teenager turned out not to be as voracious a reader and demanded that she read what she liked so most of what I liked as a youth, she has not read, even though I have mentioned them often over the years.
When I go to the bookstore (which is about to be obsolete, SOB SOB) or the Library I look on the Young Adult bookshelves. Today the stories are more topical, more cutting edge addressing all the issues that teens have to deal with today. I see some titles that really interest me, but feel kinda funny wanting to read a young adult book. One day I might get me a few though..just might.