“Chelsey has such potential and she’s such a smart girl, but she has got to start paying attention and stop trying to read her books under her desk during class.” I was exposed to be literature and music at a very young age and they are both hobbies that I enjoy today as an (almost) adult. There is not a single period of time in my life that I remember where I was not reading a book, aside from that one time when I was still wearing a pull-up and my brother told me that when people die they die with their eyes open, and then he pretended to be dead. I have spent my whole life reading, sometimes to the dismay of the adults surrounding me; and I have spent many Sunday mornings standing in front of a church singing by myself or as part of a worship team.
I can remember being a very young child laying down in the backseat of the car while listening to early 90’s country songs. I would listen to the whole song and then when it was over I would tell me mom what I thought the singer was trying to say. I was the same way with books, I would read an entire book and then search through the house for my mom and make her stand there and listen to me while I told her everything about the book that I could remember. I was so enamored with the stories that came from books and from songs, and I loved trying to decipher them. I can tell you now, there are plenty of country songs that I definitely did not understand until I was much older, and then I would laugh at imaging how my mom must have felt when I was seven and eight years old trying to explain all of these songs that dealt with situations that I wouldn’t understand for a good twelve years.
Books were my haven of my childhood. I could entertain myself for hours on end, devouring a whole series of books in a matter of days. I was the only kid that my mom really enjoyed taking grocery shopping, because she would take me into the book section of Wal-Mart, wait until I sat down on the ground with a good book, and then she would leave me on my own and go on with her shopping. I was the only kid that I know of that was ever grounded from reading; television and video games never mattered to me and I could have cared less if I wasn’t allowed to watch them but I just hated when my books were taken from me. My mom says it was the only thing that I ever cared enough about to really have any effect on me. I can remember when the Left Behind series came out and my mom bought the first couple of books from the kid’s series for me and the first book of the adult series for herself. Later that day when we were back home I asked my mom if I could read her book and she said no, that it was too grown up for me, and then she hid it from me. Only a few days passed before she walked in on me laying on the ground half under her bed, reading the “hidden” book.
Unfortunately, not all of my experiences with books have been wonderful. I remember the day that I laid on the couch sick, reading Old Yeller. I hated that book. It was the first time that I had read a book and not enjoyed it, but it wouldn’t be my last. Very shortly after that my older brother began reading the Let The Circle Be Unbroken series for school and I decided that I wanted to read them as well. I read Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and when I finished the last page I stood up, walked silently to the kitchen, and threw my brother’s library book into the trash can. I own that book now; it’s a lesson that I want to pass on to my students and to my own children, but I have never again even cracked open the cover of it.
I have so many other memories associated with music and literature, memories that would take up so much more than two or three pages for a school assignment, memories that would take much longer than a week to compile. There is not a single period of time in my life that I remember that isn’t filled with memories of book and of music; they are my life.