Cauldron

I like books.

Name:

I live in a small town and enjoy writing about the inhabitants. I spend most of my time perusing through used book stores looking for that one great book that I don't have; consequently, I have rooms filled with books. I am a book addict.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Back in the day

I used to run wild. It was a different time and place and children left the house early in the morning and didn’t come home until we were hungry or being called. For me, I came home in the evening, the rest of the time, my little sister and I walked the railroad tracks to the library, and I carried a sack lunch of peanut butter, commodity peanut butter, sandwiches in a brown sack, and that is where we stayed until it closed and then from there we climbed the rock dump where I read to her or sang to her or made up stories for her. We looked for fossils in the millions year old rock unearthed by the coalminers’ search for coal. Sometimes we found coal and we put it in a sack and took it home for our grandmother, who burned coal.

There was a black man who walked the tracks to go to town and he always spoke to us and we would hide. It was in the late fifties and early sixties and unfortunately for me, my mother told us horrible things about African Americans. When he passed by, we would run the other direction. By dark, we were home and our mom was just pulling the cornbread out of the oven. I tried to sneak my books into my bedroom. But she always saw them; the ones that I checked out, the ones that the librarian gave me for helping her mend the spines of the books and the ones that she gave me new, all books that I cherished and would read over and over. “Don’t know why you waste your time reading them books,” Mom would say. All the while, my brother’s nose was two inches from the television. But that wasn’t a waste of time.

Now, I have so many books that I don’t have enough space on the shelves. I am a book addict, I confess. I cannot drive past a bookstore, I must stop and at least buy one or two books and when I order from Amazon, it costs me no less than a hundred dollars and I buy used. The ironic thing about my childhood, the lack of encouragement and sometimes forbiddance of me reading books and the bigotry and prejudicial way my mom spoke about African Americans, well, now I read and read and read and most of the books that I read are about African Americans, written by African Americans and I suppose eventually I will focus my PhD studies on feminism and African American female writers. So, she may not have encouraged me in the correct way but she did push me inadvertently to do something worthwhile.

My little sister who is now 45 or so, tells me all the time that she wishes she had read all those books that I checked out for her, instead of looking at the pictures or waiting for me to read them to her. I tell her it isn’t too late to start reading but she says her skills are so rusty. Now that’s a shame. To let rust collect on your reading skills and I tell her to get the oil out, to start small and work her way up. Out of eight brothers and sisters, I am the only one that reads, the only college graduate, and the only one that has friends out side of my race and really I am the only non-church committed so to them, I am headed straight to hell. Won’t they be surprised when they or if they could after they die see that there is no hell.

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