Monday, December 19, 2011

Reading And Memories











Tuesday Slice of Life is enjoyed at the Two Writing Teachers blog, with Stacey and Ruth.




      This time of year no matter what holiday we celebrate brings back memories, not always good, but mostly warm tender memories of times gone by.   Charles Dickens said it best in The Pickwick PapersHappy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childish days; that can recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth; that can transport the sailor and the traveler, thousands of miles away, back to his own fire-side and his quiet home!  I feel blessed that I had wonderful grandparents well into my adult life, and my numerous connections to them are an important part of who I am.  One of those connections has to do with being a passionate reader, and some of my earliest memories begin with a grandfather reading to me, which leads me to Christmas, which leads me to one of our favorite activities, reading the funnies!

    I wonder if you remember some of the first books you read, or were read to you, about Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Kwanzaa, or?  I have spoken before of my childhood when I lived with my maternal grandparents in a little town in Missouri.  A favorite memory is my grandfather reading the comics to me from the Kansas City Star, and in those comics were The Adventures of Cuddles and Tuckie.  One Christmas time, the author, Frances Royster Williams, wrote quite an adventure that detailed the plight of Santa whose reindeer had been attacked by a wolf, so ran away to the icy Northland mountains.  Santa needed help, and called on the White King of the magic white deer herd who had led the reindeer away.  Within this series that began as radio broadcasts, part of the verse imagined that a couple of children might help, and according to a Missouri Historical Society article, hundreds of children wrote in with their advice to help Santa find the reindeer so he could deliver all his toys.  In the story, Cuddles and Tuckie were asked to ride White King to help bring the reindeer back.  And you can read about the rest of the adventures, see the story in verse and the beautiful illustrations here
            There is something magical about this story that made me remember.  Part of it is the specialness of my relationship with my grandfather plus our reading together, and the other part is helping me understand and imagine what might happen next.  We had a hard time waiting each day for the next episode, and this must have been my introduction to fantasy, a love that has continued all my life.  In 1972, Hallmark published a little memento book of this adventure.  I discovered it, and it has been a part of our Christmas bookshelf since, and I’ve read it to my children and now grandchildren every year.   At the opening of the book, it reads Hope your Christmas is as jolly as Santa is, by golly!  I could write no better wish for you, my writing friends!

14 comments:

  1. What a powerful memory. I remember reading the funnies as a child. With memories like yours its no wonder that kids today love the graphic novels. A modern version of our treasured comics.

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  2. What a wonderful memory with you and your grandfather. I loved reading the comics as a child. I remember the feeling of waiting until the next paper for the next installment. I was a very impatient child, so that was a struggle at times.
    Katherine

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  3. What a wonderful memory. Sounds like your grandpa was a pretty special guy. And the gift of reading that he gave you---and now, here you are passing that gift on to your students.

    Merry Christmas, Linda.

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  4. My Dad always tried to get me to read the NY Times when I was a kid. He taught me about the importance of reading the paper and even shared articles (that were probably way beyond my reading level) with me. While I didn't take to reading the paper independently as a kid, it inspired me to get my own subscription when I became a college student.

    Happy Holidays!

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  5. A wonderful recounting! I loved seeing my children on their bellies in front of the woodstove with the newspaper opened to the funny pages, just as I had years before.
    Merry Christmas! Now to check out the links and read more.

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  6. What a special time for you and your grandfather! This is the time of year for memories, I love it when you share. Merry Christmas!

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  7. I'm glad you shared your memory. Reading is magical...and the memories are too.
    Merry Christmas,
    Ruth

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  8. I loved reading the funnies as a kid, too! I don't do it often now, but my kids are starting to find them and want me to read the funnies to them too! My favorite Christmas book was The Night Before Christmas. I can almost (still) recite it by heart! It's a story my kids love too! Enjoy baking with your granddaughter! Merry Christmas~

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  9. Reading and Christmas just seem to go together! My parents and I (plus my husband now) still squeeze onto the couch together on Christmas Eve to read The Night Before Christmas and The Polar Express. We pass the books down the couch and take turns reading page-by-page. It's been a Christmas Eve ritual as long as I can remember, and we are lucky to live close enough to my parents to keep it going! Someday we hope to squish a 3rd generation onto the couch to continue it further.

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  10. I love all the history of you that is wrapped up in this memory. I especially love how you found so many ways to pass your memory on to others (both within and beyond your family). It is always fun to sneak a peek through the window into your life!

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  11. This reminds me of a Christmas story appearing in the Gary Post Tribune in 1952 of which I have a copy of called "Santa and the Pirates." My cousin and I waited every day to see what happened to Prince Jonathan in search of Santa to help his father's kingdom, only to be captured by a pirate! My cousin made a copy of each chapter and included pictures in the back of our childhood--what memories! Thanks for stirring them up for me!!!!

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  12. Warm memories...this was a lovely post, Linda...and Merry Christmas!

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  13. May your Christmas be filled with magical stories and lovely people.
    Terje

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  14. What I love most about memories of comics is that they almost always have an adult attached to them - it seems rare that children discover the funnies on their own. I love to hear about the "who" of memories about the funnies!

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