My mother gave me many things, unconditional love, a navy blue bike when I was four, a teddy bear with a red ribbon that adored for Christmas when I was six, a record player for my birthday, but the greatest gift that she gave me was the gift of reading.
Towards the end of my first grade year my mother took me to the public library to get my very own library card. I wore a bright red cardigan sweater on a cloudy day. My mother took me to the customer service desk and signed me up for a library card. It was a small pale blue card with my name on it. I don’t recall the titles but I know I checked out two books my very first time at the library. What a love affair that started from that moment on!
I read my way through The Bobbsey Twins, The Happy Hollisters, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, biographies of famous people and so much more. In the summertime I’d ride my bike the three blocks to the library. I would push open the glass double doors and feel the cool air surround me! We lived in a small apartment with a window air conditioner that mother used sparingly in effort to save money. So it was wonderful to go to the library and sit in the cool air on a hot summer day.
My mother would order The Weekly Reader, a magazine the school offered, for my sister and me during the summer. We lived in an upstairs apartment with the stairs on the outside of the house. About halfway up the stairs was a landing just above the mailbox where my sister and I would lay and wait for the mailman to bring us our Weekly Readers. We would lay flat on our stomachs, legs crossed in the air, soaking up the sun while we perused the latest bits of news.
Reading has always been a comfort for me, a passport to anywhere in the world. I don’t understand when people say they hate reading books. A good book is a treasured friend.
My mother gave me many gifts but the gift of reading was the greatest gift of all. It has stayed with me throughout the years and given me much pleasure.