A six-year-old sitting on the front steps waiting for the mail. Thinking. Maybe this will be the day.
And this day, I was in luck. It was! Seeing the mailman pull out that cardboard covered package made my heart swell. It was always my dream come true.
“Mommy, the mailman brought me books!” I ran into the house, the screen door bouncing closed behind me.
I tore into the package and found Hop on Pop and Dr. Seuss’s ABC’s.
I couldn’t read a word, but I enjoyed the pictures. I probably knew the letters, and I had memorized some words from the Dick and Jane books at school. (Look, see, come…) However, these books were magical.
I don’t remember my mama reading books with me, though. She was busy with seven kids. Cooking, cleaning, ironing, knocking new doorway holes in the wall and remodeling with a perfectly crafted doorjamb, as needed. That kind of stuff.
I read books with my sister, though. When she came home from working at the telephone company and/or on Saturdays (I’m not really sure), she would sit with me and my new books. She would paint my fingernails and read. She somehow made the symbols not so scary, not so impossibly gibberish. She taught me how to read using those books.
Over the next few months I would go on to add these sweet titles to my collection:
- Green Eggs and Ham
- Put Me in the Zoo
- Are You My Mother?
- Go, Dog, Go
- One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
I often wonder how and why my mom ever agreed to buy those books for me. How could she have afforded them? Just for me. They even came with my name on the box.
I don’t know, but I have always treasured the memory. These books are still favorites. Every time I see them, I smile and remember. I even managed to hold onto my worn and tattered copy of Green Eggs and Ham after fifty-some years. These books bring up floods of love and support that I had in my home as a young girl.
Thank you, Mama.
Thank you, Chris.
And thank you, Dr Seuss, for writing these books for generations to enjoy.