Why do I read?

Encouraging reading in youthPaula reading to Mike c

I don’t remember a time without books. They were a part of my day, every day, stretching back into memory. In this photo I am reading to my brother, two years younger than me. Since he looks about two in this photo, I was reading this to him before I started school — probably as a four-year old. I don’t know if I was telling the actual story from words, or had memorized it, or was guessing from the photos, but the important thing is that at a very young age I understood that there were exciting stories in books, and that reading unlocked those stories for us.

Once school started we had assignments – to read a new book every day. I continually worked my way through the libraries at home and at school, and of course at our public library where we proudly held our own library cards as soon as we were old enough to write our names. I remember many times when I was engrossed in a book and my parents had to get my attention to come eat supper, because I didn’t hear anything while I was reading a story.

I could only do that because my parents read to me. Reading before bed was a frequent ritual even after we were readers. Mom would choose somethingreading with mom above our reading level and continually challenge us with that content. Some of these were Bible stories, some were Reader’s Digest Condensed Books, which were a great way for kids to hear classics before we were ready for the full dose.

When we were ready for the full dose, the classic books were already old friends.

My family treasured books. I remember my first hardback books — Yertle the Turtle and Little Women.  We didn’t have a lot of money, but we always found ways to have lots of books, of all different genres, on our shelves in the living room, the bedrooms, the family rooms.

We did  have television, even though these vintage photos don’t make that obvious. We enjoyed a few shows. But mostly our imagination was stoked by what we read. And we never stopped reading. My brother has a memory that lets him remember everything he has ever read. I don’t have that same memory, so I even re-read my favorites from time to time.

I copied this same technique with my own daughter, who is also an avid reader in adulthood.

 

With Family you’re never alone.

By Delores Goodrick Beggs

Lynette’s birthday photo is almost the same vintage so Delores let her share.

             Family – you have to love them. Nobody stands alone, however much they may think they do. My parents were special, just in helping me to live a normal life with a severe hearing problem, and more.

            Around the time of my seventh birthday, my mother started working too, to help make the family ends meet with four children.  Prior to that my folks, like the other parents on our Kansas City, Kansas block, held birthday parties for each of their children every year. When my birthday rolled around the year Mom began her job. They hadn’t said anything, but I assumed I was having a party as usual and invited my friends.

            On my birthday, my father arrived home from work soon after my party friends and I began a competition of dropping clothespins in an empty glass milk bottle.  I saw a strange look wash over his face when I told him we had gone ahead and started my birthday party, but he didn’t say anything, just stood around looking on while we played. When the winner of the game was declared, he dug into his pocket and produced a nickel for the prize. (a nickel was worth a lot back then, it would buy an ice cream bar.) My friends were both surprised and delighted at the unusual prizes of nickels given that day while we continued to play the usual birthday games.

          My mother arrived home from her job and my parents conferred.  My father went to the store and brought back some ice cream to serve. My party was the excited talk of my friends for days after.

            My wonderful parents never said a word to me about having invited my friends for that unplanned birthday party.  However, I did notice when my siblings birthdays rolled around, no more birthday parties were held, and so I asked my parents about a party the next year instead of inviting my friends, and was told times were really too tight that 1946 year for my family to hold birthday parties. It was then I realized I’d made an impetuous mistake the year before; but my parents never mentioned that party again.

             In my coming newest release, Substitute Lover, Tennyson Wells learns the hard way she’d made an impetuous mistake when she’d left home in defiance of her older sister Mauranie, who’d been supporting her on their ranch. Once she realized her mistake, she returned home.

 Excerpt:

“I came home.” She smiled at Mauranie through teary eyes.

“You are very welcome, dear. I never wanted you to leave.”

“Yes. Well. It’s all about decisions. Sometimes you have to change them.”

“I’m delighted you came back,” Mauranie spoke with a firm voice. “You’re my sister. Sisters should stick together, don’t you think? Come, let’s sit on the porch and celebrate.”

“Celebrate what?” Tennyson startled.

“Sisters.” Mauranie’s smile warmed, her voice firm. “You go on and make yourself comfortable, Tennyson. I’ll get coffee and cookies.”

 Place in the Heart Book Two: Substitute Lover, available from Desert Breeze Publishing. Also available from  Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and other major e-book publishers

Available now from Desert Breeze Publishing or on Amazon:  Place in the Heart Book One: Breaking Point.

 

Christmas giveaway and reviews

The Return of Joy is featured today on the Long and Short Review site. Be sure to comment for a chance to win a free download of my book, as well as

see another vintage Christmas photo. And review the other posts – other authors are giving away for Christmas as well!  http://lasrguest.blogspot.com/2012/12/stuff-your-stocking-blogfest-lynette.html

Road Trip – Why do people make them?

Mom and my brother and I looking out over Lone Peak

All of my growing up years we made every vacation into a road trip.

For one thing, Dad had quite a bit of vacation time, we kids were out of school, Mom didn’t work outside the home.

For another, the trip planner (usually Dad) had an insatiable curiosity about history, and wanted to see where it was made.

So we popped popcorn (to help the driver stay awake) and packed suitcases and got into the van — which had been made over to include enough beds for everyone but the driver to sleep (back before seatbelts were much in use) — and Dad would put on his music and away we would go.

We stopped a lot. You would think that was related to four kids and two adults having differing bathroom schedules, and that was probably one aspect. It was more likely, though, that Dad spotted a roadside historical marker, and we pulled over to see what it said. We would troop out onto the roadside and someone who could read would tell what the marker said. We’d look over whatever else was there — sometimes the foundation of an old building or the ruts from a long ago trail — before we got back on the road.

Dad claimed he only needed about four hours, maybe six, of sleep, so he would drive past when the rest of us were awake.

I remember one especially long hitch. There was a campsite that Mom had located in one of the brochures. We were somewhere in the hills of — I don’t remember, Ohio maybe, or Tennesee or Kentucky? It got dark before we got the the area. Dad followed the map and one little sign and wound up and around and deep into these hills.

Picnic on a vacation to Kentucky

It was a little creepy. Not another vehicle in site. We didn’t have GPS in those days so we weren’t sure exactly where we were. And we never did find the expected hookups and bathrooms that usually signified our camp sites. It was really dark and we were really alone in the middle of nowhere.

The next morning we found a river, waterfalls, cliffs — a gorgeous backroad scenic spot. We never did find the campsite (so we didn’t have to pay the fees!) but my Mom, always the optimist  pointed out the treasure of a spot we’d found and we enjoyed it for a couple of hours before we wound back down (which took much less time) and got back on the road.

Crater Lake with a little terrier overlooking the site

Mom was constantly challenged to keep kids occupied and safe while we trekked across the country. She came up with games, we read books, and sometimes she fixed our sandwiches or snacks from the little portable fridge and the supplied she’d brought along. People didn’t eat in restaurants much in those days, either.

The Heroine in Starting Over Book Three: Finding Her Voice decides to take a roadtrip – just her and her daughter’s little dog, a terrier mix named Ollie and named after my own dog.

CONTEST: Looking for funny road trip stories to include in my upcoming book, Finding Her Voice. The winner will have their story included AND will get a free copy of their choice of the other two books in the Starting Over Series.

All my life…the joy of reading

I believe that we are prepared to do whatever it is we decide to do in life, by the many events and circumstances of our lives.

I am one of the lucky people with a decent childhood memory, aided by the many photos my dad took as we were growing up. See if these are telling…

That is Mom reading to my sister Karen on the right. She directs a literacy center in Central California.

The two on the left, my brother Michael and I, are both authors.

Books were always a part of my life. I read voraciously — literally worked my way through series after series and read everything that I could lay my hands on. When my fifth grade teacher had us keep track she was amazed to learn that I read a couple of books a day most days. My parents encouraged this, allowing us to read as soon as our homework was done. We didn’t read at the table, but they were patient with us when we were slow to finish a chapter…

And we have passed that love of reading on. My dog Ollie goes to the library almost every week, where children read out loud to him.

Here is an excerpt from The Return Of Joy about reading dogs:

When Charity dropped to the floor next to Atlas and showed him one of the books, Mark laughed out loud.

“What’s so funny?”

“She’s reading to the dog,” he pointed out.

“She’s been doing that for a couple of weeks, Mark.” So proud of both the girl and the dog she could hardly stand it, Joy grinned. “Josie has a therapy dog who listens to kids read at a local library. She helped us make sure Atlas could do the same.” Joy pulled a paper out of the pile of presents on the table. “Atlas passed his test. All we need is your permission to send everything in, and he can be an official therapy dog, too.”

Looking confused, Mark scratched his head. “A therapy dog? He’s just… you know, a family dog.”

Joy smiled and stepped closer to Mark. She patted his chest.

“I know he is your dog. That’s why we won’t pursue this if you don’t want to.” She turned and slid an arm around his waist. “But look at them. They’re so happy reading together.”

Mark looked, shaking his head. “He’s just lying there. He isn’t even looking at the pictures.”

“That’s what Charity said the first time. Then Josie explained he likes to listen to her tell the story. Charity can’t actually read yet, of course, but she’s learning to share, to decipher from the pictures, and turn the pages. You should see Josie’s dog, Zoey, at the library, surrounded by children from toddlers through about second grade. They all crowd around and pet her, and take turns reading to her.”

“So if you send in Atlas’ paperwork and he becomes a therapy dog, what does that mean, exactly?”

“It means I can volunteer with him at a local school or library, where kids will do just what Charity’s doing now. Read out loud to the dog.”

“And they don’t realize he doesn’t understand?”

“Nope.” Joy chuckled. “You should have seen Atlas at his reading test. One little boy read a book about Little Pig Piglet, who couldn’t sleep. At the end of the story when he read that Little Pig Piglet finally fell asleep, Atlas flopped over on his side on top of the book as if he was falling asleep, too. So of course he must understand. He doesn’t really, of course, but the children are so excited about being the ones to read out loud, and the dogs are so non-judgmental, that they get better and better at reading when they read to a dog. And the dogs never correct them, I might add.”

Mark seemed skeptical.

“I guess you have to see it to understand.” She looked up into his eyes. “Josie had one boy who came in with his grandpa and told us he couldn’t read but would it be okay if he petted the dog? Josie said sure, of course, and he knelt down beside Zoey and began to talk to her, saying ‘Good dog. You’re a good dog.’ When we looked up at Grandpa he had tears in his eyes. I asked him if he was okay and he nodded and told us it was the first time his grandson had spoken in months – that he has autism and has difficulty talking to people. But not to the dog!”

Scroll down to the next post for a picture of Atlas.

Buy The Return of Joy at: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/-strse-357/Starting-Over-Book-Two-cln-/Detail.bok