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A magical place

We moved to Gillette when I was halfway through the fourth grade. I hated it. We, free-range children, used to living life at full volume and with great exuberance, now having neighbors a stone’s throw away on both sides to appease. We were loud, rambunctious and from the looks, we’d draw at times, completely without finesse. Add to that a couple of dogs to join in the fray and there was no way to miss the Moon bunch.  

I still remember my fourth-grade teacher in Gillette, he was slight of build, with a Hitler mustache, a dour man who I decided was a Hitler clone, though I didn’t know the word at that time. I admit I was afraid of him because, at that time, WWll was still fresh on the minds of our families. We students had to practice hiding under our desks in case of nuclear war like a desk would protect us. The high point of that time was the assignment of the book The Diary of Ann Frank. I loved and hated reading it. I felt as though I was with her as she tried to make the best of her situation. I would find myself trying to be still so I wouldn’t make any noise. Then when I found out her fate I was devastated, and disliked my teacher even more, as unrealistic as it was. I was ever so glad when that year ended, and I no longer had to be in his class. It’s funny what a child’s imagination can do, I assumed because of one thing, a mustache, never realizing if he were what I accused him of being in my mind, he would never have assigned us that book to read.

One place was my haven. I discovered the public library, a magical place with aisles and aisles of books, and they gave me a ticket to belonging, the cherished library card. In the summer, when other kids my age were hanging out at the pool, I was hiding out in the library. I’d wander the aisles, taking down and putting back books until I had my week’s selection. I would check out the maximum they would allow. I spent time solving mysteries with the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, The Bobbsey Twins, and many others. I lived life on the frontier with Laura Ingalls Wilder. There were so many to choose from and I choose each week’s books with care. They were my friends, where I learned about the worlds, I could only dream of visiting. And they made the ‘city’ life palatable for the three years we lived there. Until the day we once more packed up, when dad went back to being a ranch hand and I could take my book with me, along with my fishing pole to the creek and live the life I loved. All I had to worry about was the rattlesnakes.

The love of words written on paper, such a simple-sounding thing. Yet it opens new horizons if we only open the cover and allow ourselves to be lost for a while in other lands or times so far away. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of creating such a thing? Who wouldn’t want to build a world of imagination where anything is possible if we only believe?  Who wouldn’t want to write their own story? As for me? I would long to be a part of that if only I had the courage. Then one day it happened. I had a thought, I picked up a pen and yet another dimension opened up for me. I was no longer a passive participant, I was actively creating worlds and stories of my own.

Author: Gayle Parish

As far back as I can remember I've always loved books. I love the feel, the smell, and the way words are put together to pull me into a story. I've dreamed for years of writing a story of my own, and here at last I've done it. I hope you'll join me as I share with you some memories, hopes, dreams, exploration of a life well-lived.

6 thoughts on “A magical place”

  1. Lovely writing. I young days when there were no.other children around. No tv or radio either. Books were a window into the world. We didn’t have a library close by but a book mobile came every two weeks. It was such a joy to look at the shelves and discover treasures. All the same I was delighted when Joanne moved in.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you npbettyb, I appreciate your kind words and the memories of your childhood. My first experience with a bookmobile was as a young mother of 5 children. I was always so thrilled when it pulled up in my community and I could re-fresh my book supply. And yes, I always found time to read. Nursing my baby was an excellent time.


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