I have a terrible memory. I’m not certain how other people’s memories work, but mine tend to become snapshots–quick, little images of a certain time and place.
I have a very clear memory of my grandparents’ old house. They moved to live next to our house when I was a little older, but for my youngest years, they lived in the house where my mom grew up. I loved spending the night at their house.
A number of pecan trees shaded the backyard, and my brother and I spent hours collecting pecans for my grandpa to crack while he watched football. My grandma would insist I bend over for the nuts because I was “closer to the ground.” As a woman now surrounded by small children, I completely understand this sentiment. It’s about aging backs, people, not height differences.
Even after my grandma passed away, all of my relatives had bags of pecans in their freezers. I miss those days. Pecans were the nut in every family dish. Even now I sneer at the price of pecans at the grocery story because they used to be free!
The house itself wasn’t anything glamorous–a modest, three-bed, two-bath house in central Florida. I remember the parquet floor and the sound of the grandfather clock, which now lives in my parents’ house. I always found a certain blanket during sleepovers. It was silky and covered with tiny flowers–a wedding gift from my grandparents’ long-ago wedding day.
My grandma introduced me to popsicles by the pool and popcorn parties after dark. She collected pretty things and treasured her family.
She passed away when I was in middle school, and we lost my grandpa a few years ago. When we were cleaning out their house, I was the only cousin with a kiddo, so I ended up with vintage toys and a few old kids’ books.
My most treasured book?
Go, Dog. Go! by P.D. Eastman
I have a clear snapshot memory in my head featuring this little story. I was learning how to read and in that sound-out-each-letter stage. Grandma and I were sitting on her bed after bath time but before bed time. She had this big, white, wedge-shaped pillow to lean against if you wanted to sit up in bed. For some reason, I loved that pillow.
And I remember reading through Go, Dog. Go! with her. I remember that book as the first book I learned how to read.
This past weekend, the South Carolina Children’s Theatre held its first play in their new building. And what musical did they perform? Go, Dog. Go!
My son tucked the old, beat-up copy under his arm, read it to his little sister on the drive to the theater, then held it open in his lap during the performance.
Side Note: If you have kiddos and live anywhere near Greenville, check out SCCT. The new theater is like a petite version of a regular performance theater, and it’s precious. This group does a wonderful job entertaining and connecting children with the arts.
Now, I won’t say that the musical was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. However, it contained everything children’s theater should contain, including guffawing children who ask loud questions to the actors.
During the finale, the actors (who were dressed as colorful dogs) asked for questions. Every child’s question showed how he or she legitimately believed the actors were dogs. How did they grow their ears that long? Where did they get their tails?
I was able to share a unique Go, Dog. Go! experience with my children. There’s something delightful about passing a love of books down to your children. It’s like a whole new world, and I’m the gatekeeper. And that’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.
What was the first book you remember reading?
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100 Ways to Love Your Son by Matt Jacobson – I’m actually reading the daughter, husband, and son variations of this book. Every morning, along with my devotion time with God, I read from each of these books. I want to be certain I don’t get stale in how I love my family. What are some different ways I can cherish my children and husband? It’s helpful to get my priorities in line before I even say “Good morning!” to each of them.