Heaven for me at times is being surrounded by books. The knowledge contained in them is not power, but empowerment.
In school, I was never popular; always too shy to be out there making friends and memories. The most daring thing I did in those days was go into D.C. one night. There was a group and I felt lucky to be included. Some that know me to day, might think I was actually the ringleader. No, I was the weird, but kind of cute girl in high school. You probably remember me.. I sat at the back of the class writing or drawing. Answering the teacher’s questions without much of a problem. Or so it seemed to you.
It was the books.. the books did it. It was how I knew things that they didn’t, well that and I actually listen to what the teachers were saying.
Growing up, many people would say that I had more than my fair share of bull hockey to deal with and maybe they are right, but early in life I found a place where I was safe; as cliche it sounds I found my haven in the pages of books. In elementary school, they had a readathon. I read every book I could on our families bookcase. My mother took my word on every book until the fourth book in one night; then the questioning began. Proudly, the answers came and an avid reader was born.
It was my first bit of academic success and another way I took after my mother. She has always had a book in her hand and within a couple years I would, too.
Books have been my comfort food since my mother and I lost our home in 1991; that was the year that I went to live with my father and step-mother. I don’t remember how many books I read in those years, but I remember reading constantly. My father doesn’t read anything longer than a newspaper article and was desperate at times to get me to look else where; to no avail. I always asked for books or gift certificates to book stories. I didn’t want him to take me clothes shopping just to the bookstore.
When my father decided to take me out of school for a family skiing trip, I dreamed of sitting in the lodge drinking hot coco by the fire with book. My father decided instead that I needed to get out and learn to ski. I spent one day in ski lessons. I learned to walk up the slope and to ski down by going from tree to tree. I was quite proud of that last bit. Dad was not. The ski lessons ended that day. Dad’s attempts to dissuade my bibliophile tendencies all failed.
Surrounding myself with books always brought me peace. Books were never disappointed in me. I could always find one that would take me away from the world, even if only for a few hours. It is no wonder that my first job in college was in the library on campus. Six floors and over a million books.
It was my love of books that led me to England and my one and only archeology dig. Books with their infinite worlds and knowledge led to where I am today. An English teacher and writer.
I am grateful for all those who have taken the time to bring words to life.