The gift of reading


Today is the anniversary of the unexpected passing of my mother in 2006. I try to deflect the grey curtain that descends on my spirits each spring by recalling the many blessings she bestowed.

One of them was a love of reading. I grew up accustomed to the sight of walls and walls of books in living room, family room, bedrooms; books stacked on every table; books strewn about the car and gracing the bathroom. They were of nearly every genre: reference books and classics, of course, but also art, poetry, history, geography, science, humor, cartoon collections, and up-to-the-moment modern fiction. My parents also subscribed to about twenty different publications, from Life and Look (I’m dating myself here) to the New Yorker and Punch. Oh, the trees that were sacrificed at the altar of literacy. (When did my mother manage to cook and clean?) And, for good or ill, none of it was off-limits to us children, whether it dealt with the Gulag, the Holocaust, or bed-hopping suburban New Yorkers.

Here is my mother reading P.G. Wodehouse. Especially as she grew older, she really preferred humor to anything else. And that’s another of her blessings.



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