“Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!” 

Last night was downright cold. I shut the windows. I also shut the back door as I could feel the cold coming through the dog door. This morning is warmer but only 52°. It is a pretty day with sharp sunlight and lots of blue. The breeze barely ruffles the oak leaves. The dogs stay out in the yard. They like these cool days.

Today I have a concert, my third uke event of the week. Tuesday was practice. Wednesday was my lesson. After today, my dance card is empty until Sunday when I have, yup, you guessed it, another uke concert. I do have a to do list, but the sheet is yellow with age.

When I was a kid, I wasn’t a fan of carrots. Peas were my favorite vegetables. I never saw fresh peas. I’m not even sure I knew they came fresh. Mine were the very young, small sweet peas in the silver can. We had potatoes almost every night just not on Fridays and Saturdays. Friday was no meat so no potatoes, maybe fried dough or little pizzas. Saturday was baked beans. I don’t even remember ever seeing sweet potatoes, maybe Thanksgiving but I’m only guessing. Some vegetables were never served. Spinach was one of those as were Brussels sprouts. I didn’t see Brussels sprouts until I was older, and I thought they were baby cabbages. Our mashed potatoes were sometimes streaked with orange. My mother hid mashed carrots in the mashed potatoes. I just went along with it.

One of most glorious events in my life was when I learned to read. My mother used to read to me all the time, Golden Books when I was really young. She used to brag I was only two when I knew every animal on the ring of animals on the back covers of the Golden Books. I loved nursery rhymes. They tickled my fancy. My first library card was an occasion, a big event, my entry into the most wonderful world, one I still cherish.

When I was a kid, I dreamed of seeing the world. It was my all encompassing dream. I never dreamed of what I wanted to be. When I was asked by adults what I wanted to be when I grew up, a stupid question I always thought, I was stymied. Back then the choices for girls were sort of limited: teachers or nurses. My heroes were women who ran counter to custom like Amelia Earhart. I didn’t want to be a pilot. I just wanted the choice.

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2 Comments on ““Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!” ”

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today was another sunny dry day with a high of 87°. Summer is getting closer and soon, the gates of hell will open up and it will be hot, hot, hot every day.

    I can remember when I could first read. I think it was in the second grade. I remember the first grade reader, “Dick and Jane”. “See Dick run, run Dick run”. By the second grade I could read fairly well. Soon I was reading everything in sight including adult books. One of my first novels was Exodus by Leon Uris. I was a confirmed paper back book reader by the age of ten and spent much of my spare change buying paper back books. When I moved to NYC at age 13, there was a paperback bookstore in the neighborhood. I always had a paper back book in my pocket to read while riding the subway.

    My mother prepared all kind of vegetables. Many of them were canned, such as the baby peas in the silver can, or frozen. I remember our freezer always had packages of spinach, Brussel sprouts, or corn off the cob. My mother always bought Birdseye brand. I remember the TV commercial jingle, “Better buy Birdseye”. I didn’t know there were store brands until I started grocery shopping for myself.

    My father was a huge fan of tossed salads as an appetizer. He came up with this story about people in the south suffering from Pellagra from a lack of eating fresh vegetables. He liked tossed salads because his father never ate uncooked vegetables. My grandfather would say to my grandmother, according to my father. “What do you think I am, a horse?” 🙂

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      My heat just went on. It is 49°. Today stayed chilly and windy. Some parts of the state had a frost last night.

      I could read by the first grade. The nun was surprised and asked my mother where I had gone to kindergarten. I hadn’t.

      I read everything including the backs of cereal boxes. The library was one of my favorite places. I didn’t, at first, have access to the adult side of the library so I read everything I could in the children’s side then they let me into the adult side. I wouldn’t have found Exodus to my taste when I was so young. I read all the classics. I used to bring books to school and hide them in my textbooks so I could read them. All of my books were hard covers or cardboard covers, the Whitman books. I always had a book.

      We were never served spinach or Brussels sprouts. Corn was one vegetable we all loved though I always thought creamed corn looked a bit disgusting. We actually ate bean sprouts and water chestnuts in a dish my mother made.

      We were not green salad eaters, just salads like potato salad.

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