Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011 A.D. and the journey continues.

In the beginning..................... somehow we managed to tell stories to one another.

Maybe we didn't have the gift of language and we acted out the stories.

Maybe we drew pictures, in the dirt.

Then we found words that others could understand and we continued to tell stories.

Our stories were a source of history, inspiration, warning, education, horror and love and so much more.

I don't remember my parents reading stories to me, when I was little. I suspect that with their schedules they didn't have much time for it. I also suspect that it didn't really occur to them to do it. I do remember my Great Grandfather, visiting us and his telling me stories and singing songs to me. I remember sitting on his lap, enthralled with a train story and joining in when he finished the story with a train song.

Zeus and I read to our kids. We even had family night, when they were little and we gathered around the fireplace and read the Little House on the Prairie books, outloud, to them.

There is something about the sound of a voice, telling a story that will get some people to simply stop in their tracks, stop what they are doing to come closer to the story teller.

Not so many years ago, during one summer, I put a box of children's books, in my van and drove over to a little park, in a rather poorer area of our fair city.

I lugged the box of books over to the only tree, spread out my blanket and sat down, resting my back against the tree. I took a book out of the box and started to read it outloud.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see children stop what they were doing and watch me.

The braver ones came closer.

Finally, the bravest sat on the edge of my blanket, their eyes on me and the cover of the book.

I finished the book and put it on the blanket and pulled out another one and started reading that one outloud. The book on the blanket began to move as a small hands pulled it towards them.

I read the entire box of books, probably 15 or so. By the time I was finished I had a handful of children sprawled on the blanket and a few traditionally built grandma's sitting in their lawn chairs at the edge of the blanket.

I left the books for the grandmother's. They could be the ones to make sure that the books found a good home and were read. They didn't say much to me, just nodded their heads.

I was asked if I was coming back to read some more. I told them that it was now their job to read to each other.

Like dropping a pebble in the quiet pond, I have no idea what or how long the ripples traveled.

I was taking care of Curran, rocking him in my chair while I gave him his bottle.

Zeus, sat down on the couch next to me and said, "Let me read you a Christmas story."

He turned the pages of the James Herriot book until he came to the Christmas Kitten.

He started to read.

Pretty soon, Curran's mother came out of the bedroom, where she had been working on her classroom schedules. She sat down on the couch, next to Zeus.

During a rather touching part of the story, Zeus, got a little choked up reading it.

Caitlin glanced at him and then me, realizing that he really was saddened by the story.

When he finished I could see how much she had enjoyed listening to him read outloud.

We all enjoyed it.

Reading a story, telling a story, it's so different from just talking to one another. Perhaps it's because the interaction is of a different kind.

I just stopped typing for a minute and the image of Forrest sitting on the park bench, with his box of chocolates, telling his story, came to mind.

IF, I made resolutions, IF I did I would resolve to read more stories, outloud.

I think I probably will because I'm lucky I have a toddler, in the house and it's pretty easy to pull her up on my lap and read her a book.

New Year's Eve, I had gone to bed. Zeus laid down next to me and said, "How about I read you a story?" I went to sleep hearing another wonderful Herriot farm story.

What a wonderful way to end one year and begin another, in the telling of stories.

:)Bea Who thanks each and every one of you for stopping by today to hear one of my stories.


  1. Happy New Year, Bea!

    Thank you for all the stories you share... I love to listen (read) them.

    I come from a family of readers and tear though books like crazy, especially in winter. We have passed that down to our children as well... it was common even after they could read on their own that the husband would sit on the couch with them and read aloud the thicker sci-fi or fantasy books they didn't have the patience to read yet on their own. Hearing "Dad would you read us...." is still a very special memory for me of my guys.

  2. What a wonderful post. I love the story you told of taking the books to another neighborhood, laying out the blanket and reading. Yes, you dropped a pebble in the pond of learning. Very commendable.

    Our form of reading will probably change soon from hard copy books to IPad and Kindle, but the results will be the same..stories that live on through the ages.

  3. Well you've really touched the heart of this book-reading teacher. What a beautiful post and what a way to start the new year. The single happiest childhood memory I have of my mom is our visits to the tiny library--squeaky wooden floor, stacks of adventures waiting to be explored, quiet, reverent atmosphere. And the single happiest memory of my dad was his voice reading to me at night when I lay in bed. Love your post!!

  4. Happy New Year, dear friend. I smiled when I read about you taking the books to a park--it is so you. What touched me most was John as your partner in all this. He's a wonderful guy--and, what a wonderful show of love to read you to sleep.

    My fondest memory of MIke is of before we were married. We were dirt poor and borrowed a canoe to camp on a sandbar in the WI river off the bridge in Spring Green. We took no radio...just food, a tent, sleeping bags and a book about Lincoln. We read aloud to each other until it was too dark and finished the book over the weekend. We never read to each other again. I wonder if he thinks of that. --So, thank you for rekindling that lovely memory and the hope that there is someone out there who would read to me.

    May your new year be filled with many new stories of your wonderful life adventures.

  5. and a beautiful story you told, you created, you live! thank you! reading books aloud to second graders was ALWAYS a favorite part of each day as a teacher! the magic of sharing the enchantment of words unravelling from the page:::UNforgettable!
    thanks for the memories, the visits, the post!
    happy new beginnings in good health!

  6. You are very special :)

  7. Happy New Year, Bea.
    Lovely story. The impact of reading aloud is so strong. I see it often when teachers bring their little ones to the library. It also becomes a "treat" to the older students, who normally come in groups, if I happen to get them all at one time and read to them.
    How lucky for those children in that park long ago but I think the lucky ones are us. Those of us who feel the silent appreciation of being read aloud to.

  8. You tell a beautiful story Bea, all the more beautiful because it's true. xx

  9. How endearing. I come from a long line of story tellers and read-alouders. It's all good. Blessings to you!

  10. That is a lovely story.

  11. Gosh Bea. How many memories come back. My sisters and I would ask our kids to give us a line, some characters and a location and during their bathtime, we would have to come up with "something". It's a lost artform, and we had sooo much fun with it.
    Thanks for reminding me of it.
    Happy New Year!!!!!

  12. Loved the pebble story. It is amazing how things we do is like a domino effect isn't it. You did a good thing. I love books, and reading is something my family did all my life. I read to my children and now they read to theirs. I don't believe that Kindle and others will ever completely take the place of books. I love stories and thanks for sharing yours.

  13. James Herriot is one of my favorite writers...I must dig those books out and read them to my girls. The Christmas Kitten is a sweet one. I think we have a Christmas kitten...maybe 6 months old who has been abandoned on our circle...she is so meek and needs care. Don't ask me how I know she is a female...I just do. What a blessed Christmas you have experienced. I love that Zeus reads to you all! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  14. Yes, everything begins and ends with a story. The first entertainment was stories around a campfire and nothing much has changed. With a $300 million budget, a movie is nothing without a story.

    Happy New Year!

  15. What a marvellous post Bea. I love the idea of you sitting on your blanket with the children gradually gathering round and touching. How beautiful it must have been. My mother used to tell us stories about a family of mice, when we were in the bath. She made them all up and we just loved them.

    My last partner used to read to his children (and me) and we revelled in his melodious voice and superb storytelling. You are right, we should do it much more.