I have loved reading since I was in the third grade. I lived in a small town, where I was allowed to ride my bicycle to the library, and check out as many books as the library limit would allow. These I would take home, and finding a quiet spot, I'd read for hours, until my Mom would call me for lunch, or supper, or chores. In a day or two, I'd be riding back to the library for another basketful of books, and on and on, throughout the summer. The characters in those stories became my friends, and taught me many things.
But long before I was able to read to myself, my sweet mother would read aloud to me and my sisters. During the summer, we would push a baby buggy down the street to the library, where we'd fill it with picture books, and push it home again, ready for an afternoon of adventure. The Sneeches, the Elves and the Shoemaker, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Teddy Bear of Bumpkin Hollow, Flicka, Ricka and Dicka, and many, many more became a part of my childhood. I look back on those carefree days with such gratefulness. This poem says it all:
You may have tangible wealth untold;
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be--
I had a mother who read to me.
(Last stanza of The Reading Mother by Strickland Gillilan)