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Story Time

When I was a young girl in grade school, my favorite time of the school day was storytime. If memory serves right, it was after lunch. We’d come into class after having lunch, followed by free time to race around the playground playing our games and having fun. The class would come in all excited from the games and we were a restless, noisy bunch.

It was then the teacher would bring out a chapter book and ask us to put our heads down on our desk or set quietly as she would read a chapter of whatever book she had chosen. It was here I was first introduced to wonderful adventures in The Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  A chapter a day would leave me longing to not stop. I would walk those steps that Laura walked, feel all the emotions, trying not to cry in front of my classmates. So many authors, I wish I could remember them all.

We solved mysteries with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. we road across the plains with Danial Crocket fought our way through the jungles with Tarzan. It was here I fell in love with the written word.  

So many books over those early years, I can’t guarantee the ones I listed were all a part of that storytime. I remember vividly the series of the Little House on the Prairie and how I looked forward to each day. There was no library available for me to check out books and I would beg my teacher to let me take them home as I was impatient to read more. Though she would not let me, she would loan me other books. And teachers quickly got me to not dawdle over my schoolwork. They realized if I had the promise of being able to read if I finished an assignment early and got it right, I’d be the first one done on most projects.

Where most kids in my class looked forward to recess, come rain or shine. I was not a fan. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being outside. It was all that running about and nonsense I wasn’t a fan of. But let me take a book and sit under a tree, with the sun keeping me warm. I was a happy little girl.

We moved from Rozet, and all the people I knew when I was halfway through the 4th grade. The kicker was, besides leaving all that was familiar to me, I had a teacher who was a man for the first time. He was a slight build man with a ‘Hitler’ mustache, and because of this, I believed he was a Nazi. We were learning about the second world war, and it was fresh in the minds of many who have served. He frightened me and pushed me, which made me angry. I dreaded going to school. It was during this time that we had to learn to hide under our desks in case of nuclear war and polio was sweeping the country. Frightening times for a young, impressionable girl. Then one day, he brought out a book and assigned us to read it. And once more I fell in love with a story and a character, only this time it wasn’t a character, but the story of a real girl, not much older than me. The Diary of Anne Frank took me through the darkest time. When alone, I would try to be as quiet as a mouse. I too was feeling the confusions of a young girl, but I at least was free. I agonized as I read her story and in the reading of it, I also saw my teacher in a new light. Would a Nazi give me such a book? I realized not. I also came to learn that he had family who was in Germany during that time, and he lost many of them to the camps. I wish I could go back and talk to him now to learn about the path that shaped him. He wasn’t a compassionate teacher like I’d had in Rozet, but he wasn’t the horrible man I made him out to be initially.

As much as I hated Gillette and finishing my fourth through seventh grades there, there was one thing I loved about it. The library, at school, and the public library. The day I got my card, was my ticket to the world. I could check out all those wonderful books I’d learned about during storytime. The world was wide open to me. I even read encyclopedias. I realize now that I used books to hide in, so I wouldn’t have to be more social. The storytime after lunch did not happen anymore as I got older, and I hated that. So many authors, so little time is how it felt and still does. I’ve gone through most genres over the years. My least favorite is non-fiction. I like the castles in the sky, the mysteries to solve, even based on facts with some authors’ licenses thrown in. I still have the storytime in my life. It’s up to me when. And I still reward myself by setting aside time to read. There is never a time if we don’t make it. And like the teachers of my youth, I believe it’s a quieting of the mind that is necessary. The break in a hectic schedule allows me to face the wrenches that life throws at us.

So, never give up your storytime. Set aside sometime each day, carry a book always. You never know when you’ll have a few minutes to read a few pages.

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.

9 thoughts on “Story Time”

  1. Ah yes, I remember story time. But my teachers chose things like the adventures of Richard Halliburton that showing an interesting history of the world.

    I did read the Bobbsey Twins, but I was never exposed to Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys or Little House on the Prairie. Perhaps that’s why my imagination never developed, and if I ever do organize myself to write the genre will probably be creative nonfiction, or devotionals or a family history.

    But thanks in part to you Gayle, I have come to appreciate a good mystery. You introduced me to Louise Penny after all, and I thoroughly enjoy your writing style, not only in your book, and hopefully more to come, but also your short stories, your family stories and these blogs.

    Please don’t ever stop writing!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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