With Mother’s Day passed, and Father’s Day still ahead, I’d like to take this time in between to remember my parents and thank them for something very specific they did for me: they provided books. Lots and lots of books. What my life would have been like if they didn’t do this, I do not want to imagine.
In our house, we had dime store novels, mysteries, classics and poetry collections. Will Durant’s complete The Story of Civilization took up an entire bookcase. Earl Stanley Gardner’s Perry Mason series–my father’s favorite—lined several shelves with their tan, textured hardback covers. My mother liked science books and atlases. We had an amazing boxed set of pamphlets that explained scientific concepts to children, and another containing facts about and photographs of far-away lands.
A huge dictionary sat near the dining room table, and my mother was known to heave it off the shelf and onto her lap during dinner when there were differing opinions about the meaning or origin of a word.
They told us stories, read us stories and gave us stories. We read books in bed and while eating breakfast cereal. We read books in the car and in motel rooms. We read books in trees, even on swings.
The beautiful thing to me is my parents were not scholars. They weren’t teachers or librarians. They were simple people who just loved to learn. They demonstrated that love to their children, and gave us the tools to carry it on ourselves. Other than love, shelter and sustenance, I can’t think of a more important gift.
Thank you Mom and Dad.