My Week 12 prompt came from Leigh Kimmel: Peculiar odour of a book of childhood induces repetition of childhood fancy. My prompt went to Fiona Grey. Once again I have been working on getting my classes up (mostly) on line. We start back up again tomorrow. I was looking over the prompt assignments and thinking about mine when this just hit me. I didn’t even have a book in mind when I started and the title of this one just jumped out at me. For your reading pleasure (I hope), I give you…
I was going through all the books in my parents’ place. Our whole family were readers and my parents were the ones who started my brother and I down that path. But my God did my folks have a lot of books!
I paused as I walked into the guest room. One wall held three tall bookshelves filled to overflowing. There were books stacked on top of books, books stacked on top of the bookshelves, books piled on the floor next to the bookshelves. This used to be my room and many of the books were from my childhood. The books on the floor were my dad’s that he’d obviously piled there for lack of space anywhere else. I grabbed a box and walked over to the nearest bookshelf. Yep. These were all my books. This was going to take a while.
I started on the very top of the shelf so that those books balanced up there wouldn’t fall off. Those were Dad’s. I briefly glanced over the spines – history, archaeology, physics, transportation – Dad had eclectic interests.
The top shelf held books from my early childhood, Mother Goose, Beatrix Potter, and others. There was also a strange but fun thing called The Space Child’s Mother Goose which my Dad had given me when I was little. I was definitely keeping that one. I sat down on the chair with the book and opened it up. Immediately I was hit by that smell. For some reason the book had always had an odd, not bad, but odd, smell.
As I read through the verses I was transported back to my earliest memories. My Dad reading the silly verses in the book which were all based on Mother Goose rhymes but with the giddy feeling that humans were just a year away from exploring the stars. I wanted to go meet Little Miss Muffett who’s force field around the tuffett kept the spider away. I was fascinated by Bo-Peep’s lost sheep meeting in parallel space “preceding their leaders behind them.”
“Um…” a voice came from the doorway. I looked up to see my brother standing there. “We need to finish this…what are you looking at?”
I held up the book and he broke out into a big grin. “I remember that book! You’re keeping it, right?”
“Oh, hell yeah. Do you mind if I keep it?” I really wanted to have that book near me again, but it was a part of both of our childhoods.
“Sure. It was yours really. I can always hunt around to see if I can find another copy.”
I smiled. “I’ll let you read it when you come visit.” I put the book down in the box that was going back to my house.
*It’s a real book, The Space Child’s Mother Goose by Fredrick Winsor and illustrated by Marian Parry, Simon & Schuster, 1958. I absolutely love it.