Perhaps it was because I was so terribly nearsighted, and that our television was only turned on for shows my parents liked, and because I knew that I was an awkward girl who didn’t attract friends, I sought information, companionship, and escape in books. Almost every noble and good thing I learned before I was ten years old came from books, including the Bible. I fell in love with books. A whole world, unlike the unhappy one of my home, was inside their covers.
I was a compliant child and rarely got into trouble. But one of the worst punishments ever inflicted on me – far more memorable to this day than anything physical – was when my mother took a half-read book away from me. Did I deserve this? Undoubtedly. She had given me The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which contained several of that detective’s most famous cases, for Christmas. A day or so later she told me to vacuum and dust my room. I shut the door, turned on the vacuum with every intention of doing what she said, but saw the open book on my bed and began reading. I never noticed the vacuum running as I finished one adventure and began another – but my mother did! And to my great distress she took the book away from me for a week. It sat on her bedside table taunting me for seven of the longest days of my life.
During the summertime, I would go out onto our Bermuda grass lawn and push aside the long branches of a weeping willow tree. There in the whispering hollow near the trunk, I would sit for hours reading. No one could see me, and I saw nothing else but the pictures in my mind. To this day a weeping willow tree portrays protection and peace to me.
Did you ever go and hide to read when you were young? Where did you go?
About Ariel Lawhon
Ariel Lawhon is the co-founder of She Reads, novelist, blogger, storyteller, and life-long reader. She lives in Texas with her husband and four young sons (aka The Wild Rumpus). Ariel believes that Story is the shortest distance to the human heart.