A Special Book
Our library in Montague, MI was above the firehouse. I was happy to know I could go there and check out fun books to read. We didn’t have a television so our activities were simple. Reading became an important part of our lives.
One day my father said he had a surprise for me. “I want to show you something, Adele. I’m going to take you to a place where there are many books! We’re going to go to Grossman’s.” (Grossman’s was a very popular department store in Muskegon, MI)
Once there, Dad held my hand as we approached the elevator. It opened and a man asked my dad, “What floor please.” Dad answered, “Where the books are.”
When we arrived at the appropriate floor the elevator door opened and we had to walk a little ways before we came to the book department. I had never seen so many books in one place.
Dad watched me as I took one book and looked at it, then another, then another. I wanted to read all of them but could only glance through them. These books were for sale, and I knew that dad could not afford to buy me one. I also knew it would be unfair for me to ask. I enjoyed the time just looking.
As we were about to leave, dad smiled at me and said, “I want you to find a book that you’d like. It will be my present to you. I want you to take good care of it. Can you do that?”
I couldn’t believe my ears! A book just for me! Dad told me to take my time and find just the one I wanted. I glanced through many books and then came across a small blue book called, Mother West Wind’s Animal Friends, by Thornton W. Burgess.
“This is the one I want dad!” I held onto it and we went to the store clerk to buy it.
As I remember, the clerk looked at me and smiled as she remarked, “You chose a good book.”
All the way home I held onto this special gift from my father. I would remember this day forever and cherish the book.
As I am writing this childhood memory I have the book next to me. Yes, it is old. The cover is still blue and the pages are yellow but every page is in perfect condition. The copyright is 1912. On the inside cover is written, This belongs to Adele Ann Kinney, March 1, 1947.
It is a special book that has been with me for many years. I think my dad would be proud to know it is still part of my life, and I did as he asked, “take good care of it.”
When I began writing and creating my stories for the series, ‘The Adventures of Sammy the Skunk’, it never dawned on me that perhaps my very first book influenced me. The author, Thornton Burgess, had great love for animals which I have also. His book and mine are about the lives and adventures of forest animals.
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