Do you ever think back to the magic books brought to your life when you were a kid?
This weekend, my husband and I went to town on our house, deep cleaning, rearranging, and organizing it within an inch of its life. As we tore apart the basement bedroom, I rediscovered one of my most precious possessions: My Serendipity Book Collection.
With nostalgia welling deep within me, I pulled out the little hardback books and flipped through them, a distant smile on my face. In a matter of minutes, I was transported back into my early childhood, seeing the world through a five-year-old’s eyes once more.
When I was very young, we lived in a pretty, two-story home in Peach Tree City, Georgia. The house was the epitome of eighties awesomeness with brownish gold tiles, paneled walls, and plush shag carpet. I was a happy, healthy, active little girl, despite the fact that in those days, money was tight and as the youngest of three kids, nearly everything I wore or played with was a hand-me-down.
But that all changed when the first book showed up in the mail one day. My mom took me into her bedroom, tucked me into my parent’s huge bed, and curled up beside me. I gazed in awe at the perfect, unblemished cover, its edges crisp and sharp. The book was so new, it had never ever had the spine cracked. Opening to the first page, we settled in and she began to read.
Serendipity: The gift of finding valuables or riches not sought
In these stories, horses frolicked, mice flitted, bunnies hopped, and dragons baked. The brilliant illustrations drew me in while Mom gave life to the words on the page. The line between real and make-believe blurred, and I imagined a pure white unicorn really could live in the forest, waiting only for a little princess to find it, or a little pink sea monster actually did swim happily in the deep blue sea, offering not so gentle reminders to fishermen not to litter.
In those priceless moments, the world was mine for the taking. The thick, white pages were mine for the turning, my mom’s attention mine for the basking, my siblings’ presence mine for the banishing (lol). I absolutely lived for the moment another book would come. Once a month like clockwork they would arrive, and the ritual would begin again.
I can pinpoint with absolute certainty that this was the moment my love affair with books began. I can close my eyes and be back in that moment, just as eager for the book to end as I was for it not to end. I wanted to make sure everything would turn out okay in the end, but I always insisted on a second reading, to savor the story the second time around.
It was the joy of these books that carried me on to Charolottes’s Web, then The Root Cellar, through Bridge to Terabithia and beyond. From Clive Cussler, John Grisham, and Michael Crichton in high school to the day I stumbled upon my very first romance novel the summer before I left for college and found my true home.
Years ago, when my niece was born, I planned to send my collection to her, one at a time, when she turned five years old. But alas, her fifth year came and went, and still the books languished in my basement. I realized last night, as I lovingly flipped through the pages and relived the pleasure of receiving them all over again, that they are simply too precious for me to give away. They represent the very best from my childhood, tangible things that I can touch, see, and smell—and yes, read again.
How could I possibly give away something that is such a part of who I am today? After all, that’s what wills are for ;)
So tell me, what sparked your love of books? What was your favorite book/series? Any recommendations on a series I can send my 6-year-old niece, since, well, I’ll never be able to send these? ;)