Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reading, Writing and Arithmetic

Of the three r's, (reading writing and arithmetic), reading was always my favorite. One of my first memories is sitting in the children's section of Hamilton, Ohio's Lane Public Library and looking at books wishing I could read the words on them.

My mother was and continues to be an avid reader and her love of reading was instilled into me at a very early age. When I finally began to learn how to read, I never wanted to stop. During the summer, the Lane Public Library had a summer reading fair and the "bookmobile" would come to various neighborhoods and the kids go borrow the books they wanted to read for the week and the next week return them and exchange for new ones. The child that read the most books over the summer holiday would be honored by having their name put on the summer reading banner.

I am sure that I have read thousands of books. From Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham" to Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace" and every genre in between. I have many favorite books I have read and some I care not to read again. Like movies, some you can read over and over and others, once is enough. Some of my favorites are... "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote; "Gone With the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell; and "The Witching Hour" by Anne Rice. But my very first book was read in the floor of the children's section of Hamilton, Ohio's Lane Public Library, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter. The memory is so fresh and vivid in my mind, just like it was yesterday. Some of my best memories as a child came from reading and that library.

Things have changed quite a bit since then. The Lane Public Library is still there and the main building is on the Ohio Historic Registry of Historic Buildings, but it has seen some changes since then. It also has several branches throughout Butler County. Now most kids have never opened a book other than their school text books and if they read it is off the Internet or from magazines. The neighborhood library is almost a thing of the past. And I have not seen a "bookmobile" in decades. It is unfortunate that reading has taken a back seat to video games and the computer. So next time you need some quiet time, or just need to "get away" from the every day world, grab a book.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Remember Being 16?

My youngest son, Adam is 16 and on Wednesday, Feb. 10 he will be 17. Due to his battle last year with Hodgkins, he was unable to get his driver's license. So this year he is taking driving school and will soon be an official licensed driver. I don't understand why this is making me feel so old, as all my other kids went through this right of passage and I didn't really get this emotional. Maybe it is due to the last year seeing Adam fight cancer and now this is just another mark to say he did it. Or maybe it is just the fact that it is just another sign that yes, I really am getting old.

Pondering these things takes me back to when I was 16. Do you remember when you were 16? Everyone was getting the driver's permit and taking out mom or dad's car to learn how to drive and to move into one of the first steps of adulthood. My friends were driving Chevy Malibu's or Pontiac Grand Prix, or even a couple of trucks.
As for me...I was learing to drive in this.
A fishbowl with wheels. An AMC Pacer. It was a beauty, 75% glass and 25% metal and rubber.
So Adam, when you think you've got it bad and you have to drive your mom's old Taurus take a look at what I had to drive...