i was bred through books. every grandchild of my mother is bred through books. my parents, fond of concrete thought and lucid language, assured we all respected the power of the written word. tis' why her recent, sporadic, gift to me is one i shall cherish beyond...words.
my very first novel, 'roll of thunder, hear my cry' was read to me by 6th grade teacher, miss ruth. a stark look into the antebellum south through the eyes of cassie, a nine year old brown girl with a spitfire spirit, this book set my young mind down a premature path of black nationalism. every day, 30 minutes before the final bell was set to ring, miss ruth pulled out that book like the holy grail. our class room, full of rambunctious, mischievous pre-teens quieted on cue, for no matter how cool and aloof we acted, every one of us became mesmerized when she began to tell the ugly tale of racism, oh so beautifully. adorned with a vast variety of voices and dramatic facial expressions, it was easy to forget you were being read to, as the story played out in our charmed and growing minds cinematically. i was in love with it all and devoured every word. would go home and re-read the chapters over and over again. and by the time we collectively finished reading our tale, my mother had already bought me the sequel ('let the circle be unbroken') so i could remain in that place of educational thirst. from that point on, i eagerly sought and found myself within the borders of a really...good...book.
my mother's gift to me is an original, hard back copy of that beloved first novel. and just like that i am transported back into a time when summers and silence and sunshine and words filled me with only the sweetest parts there is of bliss...
“good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life”