As I stated in the last post, I am taking a trip back to the works that have made a difference in my life. As I remember, when I moved from the three room school to a larger one, (grades 1-8), my reading took a turn. I moved to books by Phyllis Whitney and Mary Stewart, I love "The Moon Spinners". One of the librarians in Carthage, Illinois , where the library was located, did not want to let me check those books out. She said they were for adults. I argued with her and when she wasn't looking checked them out with another librarian. I did not see that there was any issue. The words were there and I chose to read them.
In high school I made the switch to plays. I became enamoured with reading any and all I could find. I would check out the 'best of' plays for each year. That is where I read "Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Momma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' so Sad". Big title, but an interesting read. I did not like "Romeo and Juliet", but loved "MacBeth". I would say however the work that seemed to make the most lasting impression was the one act play "The Valiant". The line.."a coward dies many times before his death, but the valiant dies but once." has stayed with me for ever so long. In some ways I would say that line and one from a television show got me through all the 'tough' teen years. To paraphrase the TV line it was, ' there are four groups of people who react to you in life. The ones who like you for who the right reasons, the ones who hate you for the wrong reasons, the ones who like you for the wrong reasons and the ones who hate you for the right reasons. Of all these the one you need to worry about are the ones who hate you for the right reasons.'
Coming from a smaller school and not being one to 'follow' the crowd, it was sometimes tough. Still looking back, the books and plays I read allowed me to be myself and make the transition from high school to college without much stress. In many ways because of my reading I was a bit more mature than most of my contemporaries. In a small town that is not a bad thing. It also instilled in me the power of thoughts that words inspire. That was probably the greatest gift I received for those growing years.
Join me next time for college and beyond.