I probably should have known when I was in elementary school that I had a voracious desire to investigate, learn, and make connections. Maybe it started with my passion for Encyclopedia Brown books. I made it my mission to try to solve the case and learn about any nuances before finishing the book. That has fueled me for many years to come. I love learning new things, finding pieces of information that are missing in a story, and piecing together how each aspect is interconnected with another.
Books would suck me in. I could learn about the drama, excitement, and sometimes boredom of someone else’s life. I could try to guess what I think the author would do, and if they did not, what I would do if I was the author. Was that just a thing I did growing up? Recently I read a brilliant memoir by Julia Sweeney (think “It’s Pat” on Saturday Night Live), called: “It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother.” I laughed a lot, and was impressed not only with her life, but the humor that came out in her writing. This quote from her book made me think of my own childhood:
“While I didn’t like most of my classes at school, I did love to read, always imagining myself as the heroine in a story. I thought being Anne Shirley, the spunky orphan in the Anne of Green Gables series, might be less stressful than dealing with my father’s moods. I identified with Frances Nolan in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and her loving but turbulent relationship with her head-in-the-clouds father. But my most recent favorite was Are you There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I was positive I’d get my period any day.” page 36
My sister might have actually read the entire Anne of Green Gables series, but since I was her constant tag-a-long I saw all the movies with her. Since I was more of a Barbie girl, then a get lost in the field and dream about Gilbert Blythe, I still related to the cantankerous attitude of the sassy red-head. There were times when I would think living in that era would be much easier than my own childhood, or joining the group of girls in The Babysitter’s Club would make all my worries go away.
Just as I would hide under the covers with a flashlight so I could stay up reading, or sneak away to another part of the house to try to get out of chores, books were my solace, comfort, and adventure. Whether I hid behind my book, or let my book launch me into the world of detectives, popularity, or the lust of Gilbert Blythe, I was and will always be transformed by those words on the page.