Feels Like The First Time

It’s almost impossible for me to figure out the first book I ever really got lost in. Too long ago. I was a book-worm from a very very young age. I remember a teacher telling my mother I could read at the 12th grade level when I was in 3rd grade. It was a way to occupy myself, a lone pup that got passed around a lot.

Beverly Cleary books are certainly candidates. I read the Mouse and The Motorcycle over and over again. I read all the Henry Huggins stories and wanted a dog like Ribsy so so bad. I read The Mad Scientists Club more times than I could count in 5th grade while I was supposed to be paying attention to math. But 5th grade was too late for that first book that really pulled me in.

So I’m going with Bonny’s Boy: A Dog Story. That’s one I read until I literally wore it out. I can’t remember how I came upon it, though like many books I picked up, it was probably a lucky find in an unlikely place. I remember it had no dust jacket and it looked like it had been printed in 1947, the first copyright date.

I have a first edition in my bookcase, displayed prominently, on a book stand. It means something to me.

It reminds me of a time that is more feeling and shading and emotion than actual memory. It reminds me of my Uncle George who loved dogs. It reminds me of being alone a lot and needing something to occupy me.

Everything is Technicolor and 32 track sound when you’re a little kid. When you immerse yourself in reading you are entering another world, a world created by an author. You are invited in, to ride along, to roll the window up and down. To adjust the radio dial. To give voice to the characters, color to the setting.

Today, when asked what I like to do, reading is right up there. But it’s not like it was then. I guess it can’t be because then it was my world. Other things and other people inhabit my world now, but it always comes back to a book.

And that is one of the reasons I write. To give other people something to get lost in.

© Glenn R Keller 2023, All Rights Reserved

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