Childhood Bookshelf

I went to pull an old Glimmertrain journal from my bookshelf tonight and this childhood book, which had been stacked on top, slipped out. I could instantly feel myself sitting on the hardwood floor of the upstairs hallway beneath the skylight in my childhood home, plucking books from the bookshelf and reading for hours. Believe it or not, I pored over this one. It was less an interest in saints and more an interest in lives. I took this book to be factual, biographical. Proving that really, I’ve always loved nonfiction. The stories had an unbelievable, and often tragic trajectory, a woman living in poverty and obscurity who eventually attained sainthood, or a nobleman who gave up his earthly possessions to live amongst the poor. Fairy tales, or reversed fairy tales. I also obsessed over the names: Cecelia, Elizabeth Seton, Ignatius, Francis. And the saint my sister is named for, Kateri Tekakwitha. Her story is by far the best, and we had other storybooks about her life, too. It’s incredible the way books, images, pieces of art leave an imprint. I can feel the cool wood floor on my legs, the way I’d get lost in books, the peacefulness of being in my own world. Perhaps I should also say that My First Book of Saints was not in league with the better-loved books on the shelf like Little House in the Big Woods, Jane Eyre, The Secret Garden, My Antonia, and so many others that escape me now at this late hour.

(Post 211 of 365)


4 thoughts on “Childhood Bookshelf”

  1. This makes me think of The Chronology of Water, and Lidia’s attachment to the story of a saint (yet I can’t recall which saint, or what her her sacrifice was? Was it Joan of Arc?) The stories of childhood are so interesting, the way they shape our memories and come back through adulthood. Also, I love that you took a picture of your childhood handwriting, the tail of the “y” underlining your last name made me smile.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I think you’re right, Joan of Arc. Now I have to go back and reread that part. And I think her forthcoming book is about Joan of Arc? I love that you noticed the funny underlining of the “y”. Old handwriting reveals so much. 🙂


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