On Reading, Books & Memories
I’ve always loved to read books. Ever since I learned to read, there was no stopping me. When I was a child, I was always looking for something to read, and most of the time, I read aloud – clearly and with so much energy. I wanted to practice reading that way.
One day, I found mimeographed and stapled papers in my eldest cousin’s room. I loved to spend time in her room because though small, it had an adjoining small balcony, albeit dilapidated. This was in my grandmother’s old house. (Those old houses with capiz windows and built-in altars?) This balcony was just about ready to crumble down, so I just stayed on the edge, just beside the door, and started to read the papers that I had found, loudly and clearly. I didn’t know what I was reading, neither did I understand the words.
I was unaware that my aunts and uncles were listening intently and wondering what I was reading, although they thought that it sounded wonderful and romantic. I kept on reading until the last sentence which was, “I now pronounce you man and wife.” I later found out that what I read were the wedding vows of our dear neighbors who wrote the words themselves.
Another time, just as I was leaving school (the public elementary school that I went to), I noticed the janitor piling up old books in the front lawn. For a little child like me then, it was mountain-high. I asked what they were going to do about them, and the janitor replied that he was going to burn them because they were so old, damaged, and moth-eaten. I asked if I could get some that I could bring home. He kindly allowed me to pick. So I scrambled to pick books as many as my arms could hold.
When we were sent home from school due to typhoon, I always borrowed books from the small library that the school had. I loved to read especially on rainy days. I would sit in our rocking chair beside the window and read while the rains poured. It always felt cozy, comforting and filling.
I was in second-year high school (about 14-years-old) when I started reading Jane Eyre. I found it in my eldest cousin’s trunk like a small hidden treasure. (She always had “goodies” stashed away and I was ever the little cousin who could find them like a mouse could, like when I needed pretty stamps for a contest and she had thick piles of letters…but that’s another story). I couldn’t put it down that I missed going to my older sister’s graduation.
One time, when our small town was flooded due to heavy rains and the river( that was just two blocks away from the main road) overflowing, we were barred to go out of our house. But I wanted so much to read I couldn’t keep still. So, while our parents slept, I sneaked out to an older friend’s house (she had shelves full of books!) to borrow some books, carefully wading through the murky floodwater.
My first dictionary was from my aunt which she got from her husband’s old and retired grandfather. The pages were moth-eaten, but I was thankful that I had my own dictionary.
How about you? Do you have stories and memories of your favorite hobby or books? I invite you to share them with us!
Our Reading Nook
There were two things that I’ve dreamed of having in our home: a garden and a library. The “garden” part had been answered in 2007. In 2009, we planned of converting our quite-spacious open balcony into a library. We had an architect draw up the plan. But weeks later, the great flood came, and this changed our hearts and minds. My husband and I lost the desire to push through with the plan.
Last month, I thought of putting a large bookshelf in our family room, just to create a “center” or nook for reading. I drew the design of the cabinet and listed the specifications, then requested my husband to have it made in a carpentry shop. We are so satisfied with the finished product. It’s made of Tanguile (Philippine mahogany), a hardwood, and stained with just the right amount to show the grain of the wood.
We’ve just started to fill it up. There are used children’s books sent by my sister in California. Some are worn but still worth keeping, so we started to cover each book with plastic.
I’m passing on this love for reading to my children. For me, the best way to learn to speak and write in English is by reading. I’ve always believed that when you love to read, you also love to write, that these two always go together. Am I right? 🙂