My earliest memories are of my mother reading to me. She loved reading. She was fast. She was versatile. She could read and cook, eat dinner, virtually anything she could do with a book in her hand. She got it from her mother. My Nana. Nana always had a book in her hand. Sometimes it was really hard to shake Nana from her stories. She liked biographies, historical fiction, and trashy romance novels. She liked everything really. She just read.
But my mother read to me. She read to all three of her children, which meant we all got to share in much reading together time. I think she enjoyed the children’s stories as much as we did. At least she made it look good for us. She was animated and read in characters. It was fun. We didn’t need TV. We caught on to reading, each of us in turn, very quickly. I don’t remember any of us actually learning to read. We just started; I don’t know. I don’t remember. We all just read.
Mom would take us to the two consignment stores in town to buy used books for a nickel. We could buy as many as we wanted. We donated them back when we were done with them. We went to the library every other Wednesday, because books were due back in two weeks back then. I always got as many as I could carry. I preferred the nickel books at the second hand stores because there was no pressure if I lost one, or bent a page. Reading was a family pastime.
Then one day my mother did a strange and wonderful thing. She brought home an electric typewriter. She, being a curious cat herself, encouraged curiosity in her three kids. She showed us all about it. And then she opened a window into a new world. She showed us how to load a page and just started typing. She started a story about a mamma bear. It was good. And she did it right off the cuff. She knew how; and her fingers were really fast. Imagine! I had witnessed the birth of a story, for the first time. Amazing! What a beautiful event for a child to witness.
She spoke her story out loud as she typed for a while. It was nice. She was good. Mom never finished that story. She bought the typewriter for work, and she did that mostly. But she encouraged us to ‘play’ with the typewriter when she wasn’t using it. She always said she dreamt of being an author of children’s books. She would write on a beach in the Florida Keys. She loved the Keys and spoke of them often. She moved to North Hollywood when I was born, so I’ve never been. I’d like to go. That is, if I could go with my mom and write stories on the beach.