By Debi Whitley, administrative assistant
Having been born as highly curious child, at every turn I asked my parents, “Why?” When they did not know the answers, they responded, “Why do you to ask so many questions?”
I did not know the answer to their query, but soon enough the world of knowledge was opened to me through the adventures of Dick and Jane. Little Women and Trixie Belden were favorites, but more often than not a hot summer afternoon would find me at the junior nonfiction section in the public library. I found that reading answered my questions!
I thought of myself as a bookworm, but did not fit the stereotypical image. A social being, I was not overly dedicated to escaping with fantasy stories; and while smart, I was not overly devoted to my studies. I just wanted to know things. Why was the sky blue? How did voices come through the telephone? What made people famous? Dewy Decimal nonfiction made my heart happy. I thought to myself, “With enough time in the library, I will know everything!”
In my young years, books became my friends. I began to love the sight of intriguing book covers with their catchy titles or interesting pictures. I treasured the smell of books and the feel of the smooth white goodness of every page. Big stacks of heavy books thrilled me. I liked to get many books, never just one. My mind craved the knowledge it would find. Reading brought me an excitement like no other.
In my school years, books became my companions. They were the vehicle to education. We walked together. They taught me something new every day, and even a few things I didn’t want to know. But reading also brought continuing friendship and pleasure along the way.
During my mothering years, I found that books brought me closer to my children. Whether it was sitting close with the sweetness of Eloise Wilkin illustrations, or teaching a child to sound out the letters of each word, it was a wonderful, magical time for all of us. The children might not have shared my love for finding facts, but they benefited from it. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world, and a well-read mother is a better mother. Now that they are grown, they still ask me questions.
When we outgrew our house, it was a library book that taught us how to increase its size. When we needed new carpeting, it was a book that gave me the formula to figure out how many square yards were needed to replace it. When we wanted to take a family vacation, it was a book with pictures and maps that opened the world of possibilities to us. Reading had become a lifelong pursuit.
Today, finding answers is easier than ever. Reading is still the key. Technology has supplemented my fact-finding but has not completely replaced it. The fact that I can “Google” something to find an answer thrills me, but it in no way substitutes for the satisfaction that sitting down with a good book brings me. Technology is good for an answer, but books give me a total experience. They fulfill me, they delight me, they comfort me, and they teach me. Three cheers for reading and three cheers for books, may they live forever!