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My Childhood Friends

I have an older brother and sister, but we were spread out enough in age to have grown up as three “only children”. I often came home from school as a youngster, found a place near the bookshelf and read and admired the pictures in my favorite books till supper time. My mother loves books, and, I have already mentioned my two older siblings. By the time I arrived on the scene, we had quite a collection of excellent children’s books. Of course, she added to it after I was born, too. 
I would spend summer afternoons cuddled up beside her, listening to her read (and re-read) selected favorites. I could even talk my dad into reading some to me. When I was very young, mother would send me off for a “nap” with a huge stack of books. “You don’t have to go to sleep,” she would say, “just lie back and look at books.” Before I knew it, I would fall asleep next to a close friend.
I had real life friends, too! But there’s no other friend quite like a good story. 
It probably doesn’t surprise you to hear that Mother won’t part with these dear companions, and yes, I begged. So, when I married and had my own children, I began collecting my familiar acquaintances from the four corners of the country. I still haven’t found them all, but I won’t give up!
In October, Terry and I stopped in at our Goodwill to look for shoes for him. It was just a quick trip, since we were on a date out to eat. Of course, I couldn’t help but peruse the used book section. I was about to leave when I saw several golden spines all grouped together – Little Golden Books! I started to refuse myself the opportunity, but couldn’t resist. I quickly thumbed through them, and what to my wondering eyes should appear? Not one, but TWO copies of one of my favorite Little Golden Books, Daisy Dog’s Wake Up Book! I absolutely loved it as a child and recall Mother reading it over and over and over. I loved the illustrations, too! I could admire them for quite some time at a sitting. Right next to the Daisy books, was one copy of a now out-of-print book called Jenny’s Surprise Summer, which I first heard about from the Five in a Row literature-based homeschooling unit study. It’s a cute story that we’ve only read once or twice because of how few copies are out there.
I was so excited, that I snapped a photo of the books with my phone, right there at Goodwill! I think I paid $2 for these books! 

The same day I found Daisy Dog, I also found this book that my mom had when I was young!

It has some cute illustrations and a darling story line about a boy named Kim who needs to get rid of some kittens, but something goes wrong. I hate to give it all away, in case you can find it for yourself.

Here are some of the cute pictures from Daisy Dog’s Wake Up Book. I just love them, too! The book is one long poem, so it’s fun to read aloud.

This picture is my favorite one. I would look forever at all the different kinds of beans that Bear ate.

It’s just adorable! 
I found these wonderful books at that same Goodwill on another day!
I have so many favorite books. 
Some of them I have bought brand new, gradually, over the years.
Some of them I’ve found used at library sales, thrift stores, or they’ve been given to me by friends.
Some of them I bought used online.
And some of them, like this one…
…and this one…
…my mother let me keep! 
This tattered set of books was purchased at a church rummage sale years ago. It was our job to sort through and price some of the sale items. Bro. Pritchard, a widower in our church who is now in Heaven, brought by several things for us and this was one of them! I quickly asked Mother if we could keep them, so she bought them from the church before they even hit the “market”. I am reading them for the second time now to my own children. 
What a treasure they are!
I’ve collected quite a few friends in my almost-sixteen-years of marriage. Some are from my husband, who cares about books almost as much as I, and some are new-to-us.
I know I might be a little crazy to care so much about the printed word as much as I do. I know there is a real world out there, with real people and real problems. In fact, reading books has helped me realize that more than ever. Books have shown me the world through eyes that are not my own, like in the Newbery medal winning novel, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. It’s a book about African-Americans who were sorely mistreated in Depression-era Mississippi. And sometimes, books have provided me the escape from my real world difficulties. Just when I have had the urge to run away from home, I was instead able to “run away” in my imagination. I have met George Washington and traveled with him down the East River with an army of Redcoats surrounding us. I have been with Harry S Truman when he suddenly became President of the United States after the death of FDR; I was beside him when he decided to drop the A-bomb on two cities in Japan. I have felt the heat of Atlanta as she burned to the ground in 1864, and I was there as she rose from the ashes once again. Books have taken me everywhere, to every time. But, the single greatest thing about reading, and the reason I work so hard to ensure that my children are good readers, is that God chose to reveal Himself to man through the printed page, the holy Bible. The Lord must place a very high priority on words, too.
I am so thankful for a mother and dad who took the time out of their fast-paced lives to settle down with a good book, or twelve, to read to their daughter. They probably didn’t realize that they were introducing me to some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

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5 thoughts on “My Childhood Friends

  1. I love a bookshelf full of books! I have two in my living room! I love my Kindle and love to read on it but there is something about a bookshelf full of books! I have a lot of these books you posted!

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  2. I love this post, Valerie. I am not a big reader, but I do love children’s books. I need to start checking out the used books at Goodwill! I have Benjy and the Barking Bird, too. My favorite is “When I have a Little Girl” by Charlottte Zolotow. I have my old one, but it is falling apart. I am now on the hunt for a new one!

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