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Friday, 14 February 2014

The Gift

The moment is as clear in my mind today as if it had happened yesterday; that moment in Grade One when I understood what the combination of letters really meant. A flash of insight, an instant of clarity and it was obvious what all the fuss was about. Reading was easy ever after and a lifetime of pleasure was the result.

As a young child, I remember the nursery rhymes; stories read every night that I memorized before long. Mom told the story about a young boy in our neighborhood who had a large mouth. 

She was so embarrassed when three year old Marie said, "What a big mouth you have. All the better to eat you with, my dear."  

I didn't say that any more!

As I got older I read the Hardy Boys and re-read each book in the series numerous times. Today a good mystery is my 'go to' read when I've just finished a more challenging book.

Dad introduced me to Classic Comics, bringing them home to Frank and me.  I read many of the classics for the first time that way. Dad and I always discussed them as well; those discussions being one of the best things about those comics.

When I got to high school there was a huge library, at least by my previous school's standards, run my a fiesty little retired nun called Sister Andrea. She ruled with an iron fist, had low tolerance for misbehavior, and trained students as volunteer library prefects.  

While I didn't work as a prefect, I think I spent as much time in the library as some of the prefects did.  Our bus from Mount Pearl got to school early and I often spent the time in the library researching or  reading.  I read Shakespeare there under the watchful eye of Sister Andrea. She even learned my name which was very unusual.

At university, I made room in my Science degree for some English electives which I really enjoyed, though it wasn't a picnic doing four lab courses and an English course one semester. I didn't do that again either.

These days, in Seniors' College on Prince Edward Island, book club is one of my favourite experiences.  One of the best things in life, to me, is a few hours discussing a book, sharing thoughts, feelings, insights, experiences, with interesting people.  It's also a great way to keep the mind sharp and the spirit energized.  I've met great friends because we took the time to talk about books.That moment in Grade One over fifty years ago was one of the great gifts of a lifetime.

           Sally, Pam, Marie, Dorothy

                  Katie, Evelyn, Valerie, Lucy
Missing from the photos:  Karen, Melda and Tim

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