My friend Ryan at Wordsmithonia wrote about why and how he reads and it really made me think about why I am such a reader and why I consider books to be my best friends.
I have written about my mom and how her love of reading introduced me to reading.
However, there are some things I didn't really expand upon. This blog post will bear a lot of personal bits of my life that are really hard.
Growing up, we were extremely poor. I never really realized the level of poverty we lived in until a few years ago. Granted, I had it "good" compared to my older siblings since I am the last child. Imagine nine hungry kids to feed with only one parent working. The one parent didn't have a very high paying job. My mom had nervous breakdowns, my siblings were abused and neglected, and my dad wasn't much of a father. At times, he was brutal and my brothers were the punching bags and they had it bad. I can't tell you- since I didn't get to witness the worst of it (my older siblings remember it and some are very selective of their memories) but I do remember some really bad times. I wonder if I have selective memory myself. I know most of my childhood isn't that clear to me.
|1978 - I am the baby and we moved to Kansas. My oldest sister stayed in Arizona.|
I am guessing the three in front, not smiling had been in trouble for something...
I don't hate my parents. Maybe I would if I had live through the terrible times but I don't. Most of my siblings don't hate them. Our mom wasn't bad but she was a broken woman until she finally found independence and returned to work and found some light. She wasn't home with kids all day, she was able to get out and make friends and my vibrant, beautiful mother was able to show the love she wanted to give.
My parents had it hard. They were alone many times. They moved often. Living in homes that should have been demolished but it was cheap and big enough for all the kids. They didn't have any coping skills and they struggled. They struggled hard. I *get* it- money worries have had me on my knees crying but ... it still hurts that the children had their stress taken out on them.
And to think... I had it good.
I was neglected but not as bad as my siblings.
When my mom and I went to the library- it was because she needed an escape. I don't clearly remember the details but I do remember her always having her nose in a book and I would watch Sesame Street. TV was my babysitter and I do vividly recall seeing Crystal Gale on Sesame Street. I learned to do math and read because of Sesame Street. I was reading at a third grade level when I entered kindergarten. I was doing math at a 2nd grade level. I do owe my mom for my love of books. When I was older, we would buy books from the thrift store. She never thought twice when I carried up an armload of a dozen books to buy. I read every single one of them. She encouraged me to read as much as I wanted to.
Books became my best friend.
I was always introverted and will always be. I've never been the outdoorsy kid and the few friends I have, they are very dear to me and I don't let them go.
My childhood best friend's father was sexually abusing her. I would go to her farm and we would sit and read all the Baby Sitter's Club books, Sweet Valley Twins, Sweet Valley High and the Archie comics. We would escape with our books. We lived and breathed the lastest R.L. Stine book and MAD Magazine. He started sexually abusing me. It took his attention off of her and I could still be with my best friend and we would always have our books. He finally went to prison. We lost contact when she went into foster care. I did search for her and I did find her on Facebook. The damage he did to her psyche was massive. She's not the same girl I knew and I am sad. Our friendship never rekindled.
When I was in sixth grade- I remember staying up until 3 am to finish reading "She Who Remembers" by Linda Lay Shuler (totally not appropriate for a 12 year old. LOL). This was also during my "Clan of the Cave Bear" phase.
When I was pregnant with Emma- I re-read Jane Austen's books and that's how I named my daughter. She's named after Emma Woodhouse.
When Emma had her brain injury- I read through lots of books while she laid in a coma. They saved my sanity while I was dealing with everything going on with her.
While I was unemployed due to Emma needing care- I was reading voraciously. I started blogging. I started to come alive again.
I still love books.
They are my escape.
They are my solace.
They are my comfort through the best of times and the worst of times.
I've made friends because of books (and blogging)
My book loving friends don't think it's weird my bookshelves are three deep and there are still piles and boxes of books all over the place.
I've had the longest conversations in my life because of books. They may not be entirely sane conversations but they are great conversations.
Books will always be my best friend.