Books. Ah my first love.
I have always been a big reader. I have been told since the age of three. I would read anything I could get my hands on; including the back of cleaning bottles and my Grandma's Danielle Steele when she put it down.
I have a very distinct memory of my Bio Dad finding me reading my Grandma B's Danielle Steele and him being all "seriously Mom?" and then him throwing it behind the TV cabinet. The funny this is that my Grandma was like what? she wanted to read. We didn't see my Bio Dad's parents all that often, because my Bio Dad wasn't always in the picture and when he wasn't, well they weren't either. They were an interesting couple, both much older than my friends Grandparents. They watched the news all the time, or golf, and that was pretty much it. I've been told that my Grandpa B taught me to read at the age of 3. I do remember sitting with him and reading Tommy's Tricycle. He had a very distinct smell, and when I even try to explain it I can't. He always wore these long sleeve soft flannel shirts, but anyway, I digress. So I remember reading him Tommy's Tricycle one day and he was like "Erica you aren't reading! You memorized this book." I believe this is one of my earliest memories.
As we grew older and our parents split up (I was 7 when that happened) my Sister and I would go to Grandpa and Grandma B's house to visit. On these visits Grandpa would take us to the Manchester Mall to go to the book store. I don't even remember what it was called. There was also a carousel in that mall, and he would let us ride it every time. Other than go to the grocery store once a week, this was like the only time my Grandparents ever left the house! I am telling you they were interesting people. Anyway, I would always get a new Babysitter's Club book. My gosh I love those books; especially the vacation specials. It always made being a babysitter sound so amazing; I soon discovered that much of babysitting sucked. Unfortunately, I had to sell all of them when we moved once. It was a bummer, I had like well over 100 and I re-read them all the time.
Fast forward a few years to my awakening with grown up books. When I was a tween (oh my gawd did I even say tween? forgive me) we spent most of our weekends at my Great Grandma's house. She had an unfortunate stroke before I was even born and was confined to a wheel chair. My Grandma and her siblings paid for a week nurse, but my Mom, Sister, and I were her weekend nurses. Their house seemed so big to me. It was one of those old houses that has like random rooms tacked on to the house here and there. I always felt like like I was going to discover a new room. Well suffice to say, caring for Great Grandma Ruth was not always fun. I was 10, and if my friend wasn't home over the fence my Sister and I were pretty bored. I read a lot, like I always did. My Sister was always trying to get me to go outside, like she always did.
One Saturday my Mom gave me a book to read called Loves Music Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark. I don't even know how long it took me to read it, but I remember it looked giant. This book sent me on a completely different path of reading, and sent me elbows deep into the world of grown up mystery novels. Up until around the time I graduated from high school, I had read every novel that Mary Higgins Clark had published. I believe I have missed several since then, as life took me into a world of complicated relationship novels. I get so excited when I am able to pick up an old MHC novel. It feels like sitting down with an old friend. If I had to pick one, I would say that Loves Music Loves to Dance is still my favorite of her books. However the honorable mention would go to Weep No More My Lady, and Pretend You Don't See Her.
There have been many other authors who have put a book in my hands that has altered the very state of my being. There have been many books that made me happy, and gave me a few days of escape. These days I am finishing up the works of Kristin Hannah, and Diane Chamberlain (but so many of the old books are out of print!). I've already read everything Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner have published. I could write for days about the books I love, why I love them, and what they have done for me. I could say the same things about songs. The written word is such a powerful force, and one I am so in love with!
This post is brought to you through another August prompt challenge via the lovely Brittany Gibbons at brittanyherself.com