Former newspaper reporter Sharon Ervin has a degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. She writes in several genres, but I first met her (virtually, of course) when I discovered and read her Five Star mystery, The Ribbon Murders. Her most recent tale of mayhem is Candlesticks, a Jancy Dewhurst Mystery.
Four Little Words by Sharon Ervin, Guest Blogger
Daddy worked nights. Evenings when he was home, he read to me. A first child gets attention from parents that later offspring do not. Back then, being read to was one of those advantages.
I remember sitting on Daddy’s lap and, later on, snuggled close beside him, pointing out words I recognized before I could actually read. I could recite “The Night Before Christmas” before I was five, a result of Daddy’s reading it over and over again.
He and I went downtown by ourselves one night, to the massive, art deco Oklahoma City Library. I still remember the hush and the rich, mingled fragrances of polished oak and books. The rooms had high ceilings and ladders that gave patrons access to the upper shelves. Waving his hand, Daddy said, “See these books? They all belong to you.”
I would have to read fast if I were to get through all “my books.”
Volumes in the children’s area welcomed me. I belonged there. Books became my friends.
Mother and Daddy divorced when I was was ten. My sister was seven. Both of my parents remarried and had other children. Busy, they didn’t take time to read to my siblings, but I did. I introduced them to libraries as I was introduced, and saw that they had library cards and visited regularly.
With television and all the electronic devices today, most busy parents don’t read to their children. Kids develop their love of words and reading by other methods…or not.
My growing up families and, later, my own offspring, moved around the country. Uncertain at first in a new place, we learned to feel at home as soon as we found a local library. Antiquated or thoroughly modern, libraries were familiar, still often smelling like polished oak and books.
My husband and I and our four children, and now their children, are active library patrons. One son who lives away, enjoys online access and e-mails us from his neighborhood library.
Grandchildren, not only check out books, but they borrow CDs and DVDs from their libraries. Like their parents and grandparents, they have learned that all the materials and the expertise available at public libraries belong to them, and they make good use of their access.
This love of books and libraries and reading began as I snuggled in my Daddy’s lap all those years ago. He often began our sessions together with those four little words I grew to love.
Those words still make me smile and provide a warm glow. Most of us know those words, have heard them all our lives. They are: “Once upon a time….”
Sharon, thanks so much for sharing your story with us today. Those of us who love books and grew up hoping to read all the books in the world understand just what those four words can mean.