Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ghosts of Easters Past

Easter always reminds me of Prague; my first visit back after leaving was in 2003, when I escaped Lisbon for a long weekend of frolicking at the Easter markets and seeing friends. And the Easters of my childhood; Mom created a beautiful set of cloth-covered plastic eggs, which the elusive Bunny hid throughout the house with treats inside. And I'd get a new dress and maybe even new shoes. Happy Easter, wherever you are, and happy spring.

As I fell victim to a horrible flu bug on Wednesday I found myself having a little cry about the end of the Gatsby house. Gatsby is one of those books that I read every year with more and more delight, and this house is exactly what I had in my mind when reading it for the first time, when I was 14. I'm a little heartbroken that I will never be able to see it.

Of course, then the yang burst onto the scene, and I saw that Beverly Cleary turned 95 last week. Cleary was my first author obsession, even before Judy Blume. I tore through every Ramona book and could probably still recite Ramona Quimby, Age 8, which I read dozens of times. I am so grateful to her stories for encouraging my reading, and even more grateful to my mom. Spending the day at a library or at the bookstore was a common weekend activity. Or even weeknight activity - the B. Dalton in the mall didn't shut til 9pm and I remember closing that store down frequently. I'd have to choose two from my pile of books, and it was just so difficult. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 was one of those books, the last purchase of the day, and I stayed up all night reading it.

So my final sick day was spent reminiscing about my favorite choldhood books - Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume, Laura Ingalls Wilder, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and of course the Choose Your Own Adventure books. I still sometimes look at big life choices as a 'CYOA' book: what will be the consequence?

Happy belated birthday, Beverly Cleary. What childhood books still lurk in your minds?


Tanya Dorf Brunner said...

I still delight in my memories of Choose Your Own Adventure books. I'll never for the Mystery of the Maya. My dad was (and is) fascinated by the Maya, which is why I chose that book. I read it over and over again trying to find every possible ending. What fun!

Tanya said...

oops! I meant I'll never FORGET the Mystery of the Maya.