Our Family Reading Together

Looking through an old photo album I found this family photo from when I was about two years old. That’s my Mom on the left, then me and my sister with Dad at on the right. It looks posed because my sister and I are all dressed up. I think that this must be at my grandparent’s house since we never has a fireplace when I was a kid. This picture brought back memories of reading together as a family.

My favorite time of the day was just before bedtime. Mom would say, “Hurry up and get your P.J.s on!”, and we knew it was story-time. Story-time was the best time.

Once we all had our pajamas on we’d snuggle together with Mom on the couch. There were three of us and only two sides to Mom. So the fastest ones got to snuggle up right next to her, but the slow poke had to sit on the outside.

When we were really little anytime could be story-time if we begged hard enough, “Mommy, read me a story!” But as we got older, into elementary school, story-time became an evening bedtime routine.

I think each of us kids had our favorites. We’d bug mom to check them out of the library over and over. We never got tired of hearing her read them to us. I wonder if she ever got tired of reading them.

In the beginning, she chose the books. Later we would choose our favorites. At first she chose Little Golden Books, The Little Red Hen (Little Golden Book Series) and The Little Engine That Could.

Other favorites were Curious George and The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.

When we got a little older Mom started reading animal stories by Gerald Durrell.  They were exciting adventures of collecting animals for zoos, sometimes saving them from drowning as a new reservoir was filling with water.  The Stationary Ark

Mom also found some adventure stories that I particularly liked. Stories of being buried up to your neck in the black steaming sands of Krakatoa or barely escaping poisoning from someone putting ground leopard whiskers in your tea. I’ve been searching for this adventure series but have never been able to find it. Since Mom passed away over 25 years ago I can’t really ask her. If these stories ring a bell with any of you, please leave a comment with the author’s name or titles of the books.

We always begged mom to read just one more chapter. Partly this was to put off bedtime, but mostly because the stories were so exciting. We could usually convince her to keep going for at least one more chapter, and sometimes two. My siblings may remember different selections and I hope to hear their feedback on this. (Hint, hint.)

It was during this time that my reading skills were really picking up. I’d be so impatient to see how the story ended that I’d pick up the book after school and read ahead. Note to parents: this is a sure sign that your child is becoming an independent reader.

I’d love to hear from any readers about your bedtime story memories, favorite childhood books or anything else along these lines.

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7 thoughts on “Story-time

  1. What about Brite and Fair? I remember when Grammy and Grandpa took me to Denver in 1966 to visit my Martin cousins. You and your family were reading it. I never heard the end. I am glad to be a part of a family of avid readers, passing that on to my daughter. Who writes stories too!

    Holly Kim

  2. Hmmm . . . That sounds wonderful. You guys are really lucky to have such a creative Mom. I don’t think I got a book like that. When I got married, my Mom sent a photo album to my wife full of pictures of me through all the years of my childhood. The picture in this post came from that book.

  3. Digging through some boxes, looking for old photos, I found a book that Mom made. She made one for Ann and one for Curtis, too. It is a dedication of sorts to who we were to her. My favorite story is in that little green book…The Duchess Bakes a Cake, complete with hand drawn (colored pencil or a pastel/crayon called Cray-pa’s) illustrations by Betty Jo Louise Immel (Martin, Marbut, Neeley). There is and extensive collection of inspiring poems, psalms, prayers, notes and descriptions of me throughout. She said those were not only for me, but for her letting her 18 year old son go out into the world. Pressed and dried flowers ironed between wax paper are placed at random as accent pages…Glen’s book is green, Ann’s is yellow and Curt’s is…?. Do you know when she made yours? Mine was around my 18th year, she was 45 at the time. IBM Selectric and green “white-out” grace the pages.

  4. My grandmom was an award winning teacher, and had a collection of some of the first illustrated children’s books. We forget how recent this is! and what a treasure! for us all….

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