Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One of Mother's Greatest Gifts To Me

My Mother was a very talented woman. She was a writer or author as she had many stories published during her "writing" years. I inherited a small bit of her writing talent as I'm now writing my Memoirs and leading a group at our town library who are writing theirs.

Edith, my mother was also in my opinion a very talented artist. Her medium of choice was watercolours. When she passed on, all of her five children inherited at least three or more of her framed or unframed paintings. Mine hold pride of place in my guest room, living-room and bedroom. I had also hoped to inherit some of her talent for doing watercolors, having purchased many books on the subject. I have taken lessons on occasion to learn better the technique but finding the time seems to allude me. I am not the best organizer of my time.

Something I did inherit from my mother was her love of puttering. A whole day can pass by with me wondering at the end of it what on earth I accomplished. I was in every room of the house and opened drawers and put things here and there but what the heck, I had fun.

If I had to mention the one gift that my mother passed on to me that I perhaps treasure above all others, besides the love of flowers, birds, quilts, photos, magazines, love of old movies etc., it would be the love of reading. It started because she read to me as a child when we lived in a huge, rambling yellow brick house in the village of Burgessville. A salesman came to the door one day who was selling children's books. Those books were called "Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories". Mother ended up buying the whole series I expect, the salesmen back then were very persistant. They were numerous too and often came to the door, something I'm not sorry to see has changed over the years. She was so overcome one day by a pushy salesman, I had to run down to the C0-0p building where which my father managed to tell him to come home quickly so he could tell this man to leave our premises. Which he promptly did.

Mother started reading to me story after story from these bedtime books. Having a vivid imagination even at a tender age I could place myself in these stories most of which had a moral. Did mother have a motive for reading certain stories to me? Perhaps. There were black and white pictures in those books which I would look upon for hours also. Our village was very small, there were two garages across from each other and two general stores. The one store though had a magic place upstairs at the back. We would walk along a narrow sidewalk and open a door and climb up many, many stairs. At the top was a long, narrow room but it was filled with treasure. It was a very small but exciting library. Imagine a person a small as me could borrow books, read them and then take them back for more! Life couldn't get any better.

Then as I grew older and got an allowance I discovered comic books. Not just any comic books but big, thick Historical comic books and then romantic ones or just plain funny ones. I had a friend who lived five miles away in Norwich and her and her brother had boxes of them out in their front porch under the couch. I had struck gold! I was allowed to take some home, then after reading them bring them back. The library in Norwich was also a treasure-trove where I met Lucy Maud Montgomery and fell in love with Anne of Green Gables. You wouldn't want to know how many of her books I have on my book shelves. Then I fell in love later on with an author I'm now rereading Gene Stratton-Porter who wrote Freckles, Laddie and my favorite book of all time "Girl of the Limberlost". (well actually I have hundreds of favorite books).

Often at the library there were books which became torn, faded and too old to keep on the shelves. It was our family's good fortune that mother just happened to be the librarian. One day she brought me my most treasured book, a faded old ragged copy of "Girl of the Limberlost". I was transported into another world, a world so filled with nature as I didn't want to leave it. I think my gardening gene must have been formed into a little bud that day, later to burst forth into an all out explosion of activity each spring and summer. If I were to admit to addictions, they would be reading and gardening.

I realized today I don't have all of Gene Stratton-Porter's books so the hunt will now be on to try and find those treasures written back in the 1900's if at all possible. I have written down all the titles I can find and who printed them. Now I will hunt in dusty little book stores whenever I find myself in towns where such a thing exists. Perhaps I'll email some of literary book hunters in the family to be on the look-out as they live in a bigger city where a treasure-trove of book stores must exist. I hope as I sit each morning enjoying my coffee inside in winter or outside on my back deck in the summer reading away for an hour before starting my puttering, that mother is looking down on me, smiling and reminiscing about all the glorious books she read, knowing my time is well spent.


  1. I wish you well as you hunt for Gene Stratton-Porter's books. It will be a worthwhile pastime and adventure.

    I must talk to you soon about your memoirs group. A local library is about 2 blocks away and maybe a small group would be a bit of fun and keep me on track.

    Keep well!

  2. in order to post a comment I have to type a random word; today the word was 'undie."

    I thought I 'd add this comment to see if the magic word is "wear."