Who Made You The Reader You Are Today?

I don’t have a book review to post today so I decided to bring back a post that was originally posted at my original blog Dollycas’s Thoughts October 26, 2010. Time has passed, the kids and I are a little older but I hope you will enjoy the post and leave a comment telling me Who Made You The Reader You Are Today!!

LueAnn & Lori ~1999
My sister and I were recently discussing how we each became such voracious readers and ended up both working with books.  She manages a book store and I am here everyday, reading, reviewing and recommending books on this blog.

My sister is twelve years older than I and my brother is 10 years older, so I basically grew up as an only child.  My sister moved back to the area several years ago and we became very close and even closer after my accident.  The one thing we both remember is that we never saw either of our parents reading a book.  Newspapers yes, but never a book. We don’t remember them reading to us as children but they may have. It really gave us something to think about.

As for me, I remember my parents were always working and I spent a lot of time at our public library.  I can remember a day so clearly, it could have been yesterday.  As I was returning some books to that high desk, the librarian said to me, “I think you are ready to move up to more adult reading” or something like that.  It was goodbye Nancy Drew, hello to what she called the “Jalna Books”.  They were in fact a series of 16 novels written by Mazo de la Roche.  The series tells the story of one hundred years of the Whiteoak family covering from 1854 to 1954. The novels were not written in sequential order, however, and each can be read as an independent story.  I remember reading the series at least twice. I should probably read it again.

I can not remember a day in my life since then that I did not have a book on my nightstand, even in addition to the required reading in high school and college.  Of course, I didn’t read as much then as I do now. A couple chapters a night before bed each night.  During my high school and adult life I had a passion for crafts and sewing. At that time Home Economics was still offered prominently in school and I took every class I could.  Sewing, knitting, crochet, macrame.  I did an independent study in macrame and made a huge hanging table holder that held a huge piece of glass.  (Wonder where that ended up.) But I still had time to read for fun almost everyday.

Kris, Katy, Betsy, Jayme ~1993
After I was married and had children I made most of their clothes, mine too and most of Jeff’s shirts. I saved all the scraps to use for quilts. My husband bought me my dream sewing machine and an overlock machine (serger) and they paid for themselves quickly by all the money we saved by me making clothes. We used to make a yearly trip to Minnesota to a fabric warehouse and would come home with the trunk full of fabric.  I had a dedicated sewing room with a huge window so I could watch the kids playing outside and still sew.  I did all this while still working full time. Still finding time to read, mostly to my children, but also some really good mysteries. Where is all the energy today. 🙂

By 1999, the kids were older and didn’t want too many home made clothes, so my passion turned to quilting.  I attended classes, bought tons of books and fabric and made quilts for my family and charities. It was an addiction.  I would even come home from work on my lunch hours to sew. I had and still have enough fabric to stock my own store.  My last project was for my son, who was seven at the time, a beautiful pinwheel rainbow colored quilt.  I finished the top, it is almost full bed size, and decided I would try to machine quilt it. All my previous quilts were hand quilted or had  been made reversible quilt-as-you-go designs. I had taken a class and believed I was ready.  Was I wrong.  I remember spending a lot of time un-stitching (ripping out stitches) for a few days and then my life was turned upside down by my accident.  It takes 2 hands to rip stitches and the quilt is waiting for me all folded nicely in a plastic comforter bag, hoping some day I will be able to complete it.  It has his name JAYMESON spelled out in constructed blocks across the top.  I can’t believe he will be 18 next month and the quilt is still unfinished.  It will be finished someday, I promise. Then I will share a picture.

Anyway, all of my previous hobbies required 2 hands.  I am still hoping to be able to make quilts again, they keep coming out with new gadgets everyday.  But until that day, my heart has gone back to my first hobby that I loved, READING!!  Now instead of a chapter or two before bed, it is sometimes a book a day, about 5 books a week.  

I then was introduced to and found a bunch of Book Blogs on the internet. After a about a year of reading other people’s blogs I thought, I can do that!!! Which brings us here today.

I have discovered that my love of reading came, not from my parents, not from my sister, not from my teachers, but from a wonderful LIBRARIAN named Mrs. Lee. She was the librarian for the Columbus Public Library for 17 years. Mrs. Lee passed away in 2009 at the age of 97, but I met with her back in 2007 and was able to thank her for giving me the gift of truly enjoying reading and she of course was very humble and said I  had it within myself, she just brought it out.  It was amazing that she even remembered me, but she said she would never forget that girl, curled up in that chair reading or sitting at that table doing her homework. I was there almost everyday and in the summer waiting on the steps for her to open the door.

My husband and I truly love to read and have passed that love on to our children. Early in our marriage we lived right down the street from the Columbus Library.  The first thing we did was renew our cards and get cards for the children when they were old enough.  Our youngest daughter still makes weekly trips, sometimes with our grandson (her nephew) to that very same library and they both come home with their arms full of books. Our oldest daughter buys and trades books with her co-workers.  Our sons are more into movies and video games, but I think in time they will find the love for reading too, but it will probably be e-books and that’s a whole different subject and post for the future.

Who influenced your reading habit and how have you paid it forward?  I would love to hear your stories.


5 thoughts on “Who Made You The Reader You Are Today?

  1. What a beautiful post! I am glad that you decided to post this again. I wish that I could tell you who made me the reader that I am, but I am alone in my love for books. I may have made my mother the reader that she is, since she only recently started to read on a regular basis.

  2. Such a beautiful and awesome post!!! I so enjoyed reading it. I remember my mother always taking credit for my addictive reading habits, even though I never saw neither of my parents reading, other than the newspaper. She would tell people that is how she potty trained me, sitting with a book. But it really was my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Chevarini. You triggered a long gone memory about the library. Our local library was next door to the elementary school and was small with only 2 rooms, the children’s area on one side and the YA/Adult in the other room. I remember the day, and how excited I was, when I was allowed in the YA/Adult room. Back in elementary school we would have mandatory summer reading lists and I think I was the only one who looked forward to it. I would walk to the library at least once a week and during the summer I would lay on the grass under a big elm tree in our yard and read for hours. When I had my boys, I read to them all the time, enrolled them in “library school” when they were around 3 and they loved reading until they got to HS. Now that they are adults, they have picked up reading again and I am thrilled!!
    Thank you for bringing back fantastic memories and for sharing your’s.

  3. I am glad you read! Thanks for this re-post. I learned more about you~and I knew we had a lot in common. My Mom said I read at 5 and in 1st grade I ordered my first Weekly Reader books. I even taught a neighbor to read,A year ahead of me in 2nd grade. I always got books as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. I read some pretty heavy classics due to my cousin(s) who passed them on for me. In High School, I was a student worker for a couple of class period in our school Library.
    My Librarians inspired me too. After College, I worked at the College Library and then go to work on my Master’s in Library Science. I never got to work as a Librarian as that was the first hint of my serious heart condition to come. I read a lot and visit blogs about books. I have no regrets..I did work 11 years with Students with Autism at the High School level. My town Library as taken a hit with their budget. I love your Blog 🙂

  4. I have very little memory before age 7 but I know my parents read to me. I still probably have at least one of the books they read to me. My parents bought me any books I wanted (I’m an only child) and most of the time, they read them also. I did go to the library and even volunteered at public library and in school library. My parents usually had a book in their hands even while watching tv. I am reading more this year because of various reading challenges and playing fewer games. Long live the book!

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