“This is now.” When I finished reading Little House in the Big Woods to five year old, Beej, the ending gave my heart a pang. As I gave this more thought, I realized that there were so many reasons it touched me so deeply.
I grew up reading the Little House books over and over again. It’s one of many things I share with my sisters. We read the books, watched the tv show and played out scenes repeatedly throughout our childhood. I felt so attached to Mary and Laura. Who didn’t love Laura, little half-pint? She was feisty, adventurous, impulsive…. and for me, once again as was in the case with Betsy Ray, she was a writer. But when we played Little House, I was always Mary, my sister was Laura and our youngest sister was Baby Carrie, which is why she didn’t play with us often. Because let’s be honest here, did anyone ever really want to be poor Carrie? We played these parts because of birth order but I believe that if our order had been different, I would still be Mary. I was more like her in personality while my sister was more like Laura.
I couldn’t wait to share my love of these books with Kris, when she was young. I remember purchasing her a hardcover copy of Little House in the Big Woods when she was around seven years old. We settled in for a cozy bonding experience and I began reading it to her….. and she was bored stiff. I had forgotten how descriptive the books were. She couldn’t get into the book and I didn’t push the issue, although I was disappointed. These books had played a big part in my life.
Fast forward 20 years and while looking for short chapter books to read to Beej, I came across a few Little House books that were simpler and revised. Each book had a theme- Laura and Jack stories, School Days, and Pioneer Sisters. We read the first Laura and Jack story and Beej was hooked!! His thirst for learning new things was being quenched by the same descriptive writing that didn’t keep Kris’s attention. We read at breakfast and having completed Little House in the Big Woods, we are over halfway through Little House on the Prairie. In this book, they have moved to Indian country so this is a strong underlying theme throughout. At times I have to read ahead quickly so I can edit what he hears since the book does hold the long held view on the subject.
As we read and come across parts that my sisters and I loved as children, I’ve been sending my sisters screenshots of those favorite passages. It’s fun to share those memories and reminisce.
And I come back to that simple sentence. “This is now.” It seems so appropriate to be reading about a time long ago when, for very different reasons, life was similar in many ways to the lives some of us are living right now. The majority of my human contact is the people in my house. Although the boys come and go depending on their dad’s work schedule (which does not stop for pandemics or anything else, for the matter). We might not be building our own house, growing or hunting for food and living primitively, but our lives are very different than they were even a month ago. We are doing without things we thought were necessary. And reading about a very different time so many years ago makes me think about how much things have changed, and yet stayed the same.
How very much we are living for today. Now.
“Betsy returned to her chair, took off her coat and hat, opened her book and forgot the world again.” – Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown
What drew me to the Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books as a child was the cover. It wasn’t the one pictured on the left, but actually the original cover from 1940, when the first book was published. (I have always loved books illustrated by Lois Lenski.)
I can still remember devouring the first in the series, not realizing there were more. Imagine my delight when I saw that I could keep reading more and more about Betsy and Tacy. I didn’t own my own copies until I was an adult and bought them online. Growing up I checked them out of the library over and over again.
The books follow Betsy Ray and her best friends Tacy and Tib from age five to Betsy’s marriage. Betsy was a lively, outgoing, imaginative girl. In contrast, her first best friend Tacy was very shy and sensitive. Tib, the last to join the trio, was more adventurous. Betsy loved telling stories and knew in her heart that she was a writer who needed to write. I admired Betsy’s spirited nature, so unlike my own, but felt a connection with her dreams of writing at such a young age. I was more like Tacy, still am for that matter. More often than not, like Tacy, not wanting to be the center of attention. Throughout my life, I’ve related to Tacy on so many levels and loved Betsy for all the ways she wasn’t like Tacy- or me. But like the quote I chose for today, Betsy and I were kindred spirits, losing ourselves in a book. Even at a young age.
I was the only person I knew in my friend circle who read Betsy-Tacy books. Are you familiar with them?
What do you do when you are smack dab in the middle of flu season and you feel like you’re coming down with something….no, you know you’ve come down with something but like to stay in the mindset that you can will it away? Fluids, rest, reading until your headache comes back and then catch up on your favorite show!
I will not get sick. I will not get sick. I will not get sick.
I am not sick. I am not sick. I am not sick…….
— Diane Duane, So You Want to Be a Wizard
“Insights don’t usually arrive at my desk, but go into notebooks when I’m on the move. Or half-asleep.” -Hilary Mantel
At some point over the last few years I lost my desire to read. I blame vision issues. But I suspect that spending the majority of my time in hospitals or at home caring for others impacted my ability to hold on to any interest in a book I might try to read. I had to find contentment in reading to five year old Beej. And read, I did.
Then a book by my favorite author was released. And I noticed a biography of an actress whose movies I loved. Without warning, I found myself back in the game. Instead of spending time jumping from one social media account to another or shopping on Amazon, I look forward to participating in a reading challenge and READING!
My hope is that with reading, my writing will come out of hibernation. Then I will have to start poring through my notebooks and decipher the notes of ideas, dialogue, character and more that I’ve been jotting down!
following the bouncing ball across the world
Taking the camera for a walk!!!
Everyone Has Something To Teach Us
Stories and dreamy images
EMBERS FROM SOMEONE DOGGEDLY TRYING TO MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL...
Living in the 1950's in the 21st Century
Sharing our outdoor experiences and books along the way...
Or not, depending on my mood