Thank you for parents who read to us every night — Robert Louis Stevenson, Rudyard Kipling, Louisa May Alcott — and who limited TV, which we three kids were completely bitter about back then but which turned us into voracious, lifelong readers. The rustle of pages was our family’s most sacred sound, our hymns, about wolves, and pioneer children, the little Japanese peach boy, the talking animals of Aesop, and then, oh, my God, Dr. Seuss.
Thank you, Betty McKegney, for letting me be your big girl helper at our tiny local library every Thursday night, when our family came to pick out books for the week. It was our musty cathedral, our mosque, stuffed from floor to ceiling with old books and magazines. I loved stamping the due dates on the old library cards, ca-chunk.
The planes and boats of my family were paper, between hard covers, flat sheets from which sprang fully formed worlds of people sort of like us; magic carpets that let us see from up above and be blown away on the winds to castles, planets and plantations, and then delivered us back, somehow stunned and calm and changed, all at once.