Forgotten Favorites

In keeping with my months-old New Year’s resolution, I went up into the attic last week intending to clean. Alas, it was too hot up there and I ended up going back downstairs, filthy and frustrated. But while I was up there I took a peek into a couple boxes whose labels had been torn off. I love doing that because I forget what’s in the boxes and it’s like opening a treasure…sometimes.

One of the boxes held Easter-egg-coloring kits at least five years old. Boring. I should have brought them downstairs to throw away, but I didn’t. Next time I go up there to clean (stop snickering) I’ll start with that box.

But the second box was much better. It held books that I loved as a kid and that I’m sure I would get just as much enjoyment from now. My kids love those books, too. Many of you probably have the same or similar books in your attics.

The book on top of the pile in the box was Heidi. It was the hardcover Junior Illustrated Classics edition. Did you ever read the story? It was my favorite as a child. My middle child loves it; I think it’s her favorite book, too. She has a paperback copy, but there’s nothing like that hardbound copy with its gorgeous pictures. Part of Heidi‘s charm was its setting–the Swiss Alps. To this day I think of that story every time I hear the wind whooshing through evergreen trees. And I always felt sorry for the grandfather; his gruffness hid a deep love for Heidi and a profound sorrow over the past. And my love of cheese? I think it just may stem from the lunches that Heidi always shared with Peter up on the mountain.

Another book in the pile was Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates. Again, a Junior Illustrated Classic that took place in another country far from where I grew up. Holland was then, and still is, a country that I only visited in my imagination, but the author did a beautiful job of transporting me to a place I’ve always wanted to see for myself. If you’ve never read it, I can highly recommend it.

And then I found The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Another great one, though there were a few scenes in that book that gave me nightmares as a child. Anyone remember Injun Joe? My son likes Tom Sawyer, too.

There were books that I loved that didn’t make it into that box, too. In fact, there were lots of them. The one I remember best was Down Down the Mountain by Ellis Credle. Ever hear of it? It’s the story of a brother and sister, Hetty and Hank, who go from their home at the top of the mountain to the town down below to buy squeaky new shoes. They’re planning to buy their new shoes with the money they make from selling turnips. But as they make their way down down the mountain, they keep giving their turnips away to people in need. You’ll have to read the book if you want to find out whether they get their new shoes…

Think back to your childhood. Are there favorite books you remember? I’d love to hear about them.

Until next time,