Storyworth Weekly Entry #3 - What Did You Read As a Child?

The following is part of an ongoing project I am working on in 2020 using the website Storyworth, a collection of memories to share with my family. What did you read as a child?

I learned to read when I was four years old and I have pretty much had my nose stuck in a book ever since. I have traveled all over the world and to many different time periods in my mind and made lifelong, beloved friends in books that I have read over and over throughout my life. Books have always been my very best friends.

I could not be more thankful that I grew up in a time without internet access, ipads or cell phones. Back in the late 70’s & 80’s we were wild and free, not chained to an electronic device. Our television had four channels: ABC, NBC, CBS & PBS (more about beloved tv shows later) and children’s programming was limited. 

On long car rides, we did not have a DVD, headphones & a screen to keep us entertained. We looked out the window at passing cars and slugged each other on the shoulder whenever we spotted a Volkswagen Beetle. My sister and I usually played numerous rounds of our favorite game called “fightin’ in the backseat” before a hand or flip flop showed up back there and put a stop to it. But most of the time on our long car trips, I read a good book. 
Eight year old Mandy "gently" loving on four year old Kim.

Here are a few that I loved as a kid:

The Berenstain Bears: One of my absolute favorites is the called The Bear Scouts and Papa Bear takes Brother’s Scout Troop out on a camping (mis)adventure and they end up rescuing him over and over. I think this one reminds me of my daddy and some of his outrageous mishaps (I could write a whole book just on the adventures of Bob Coots). 

Beverly Cleary: Ramona Quimby was my spirit animal. Her sister Beezus was a thorn in my side. Willa Jean was my mortal enemy. Her cat Picky Picky was every cat at my very own home. Ramona was audacious and very often misunderstood, which was basically the story of my entire childhood... 

Choose Your Own Adventure: The Choose Your Own Adventure books are making a comeback lately and I have been so excited to see them on the shelves. These books were short and so much fun to read. I would read them over & over, choosing a different direction and ending for my adventure.

Judy Blume: File this author under “everything you need to know about adolescence, I learned from reading her books”. Deenie, Are You There God It’s Me Margaret, Starring Sally J Freedman As Herself, Blubber, Tiger Eyes...I can’t remember which of hers was my favorite, but I learned a lot about feelings and life from “being friends” with the characters in her books.

Sweet Valley High: There are 181 books in this series and I have read most of them (thank the Lord for our local library). Identical twins, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield and their friends in Sweet Valley, California were the constant source of gossip between my cousin Rachel and I. You would have thought these people lived in our hometown the way we obsessed over their lives. I don’t remember learning life lessons but I do remember that I thought I just KNEW what high school was going to be like from reading them. (Ha, bless my heart

And as I got a little older, I read several Stephen King books. I still can’t believe my parents let me read those. I remember reading Christine, Carrie, Cujo and Pet Sematary. Most of the mature content in those books went right over my silly head, but the scary parts did not. I can remember reading late into the night and then having to TAKE THE BOOK DOWNSTAIRS and leave it in the living room so I could go to bed because I was too scared to sleep in the same room with it! Ha!! Scared to death!!!!

But my life changed forever when I was about twelve years old and I came across the fattest, thickest paperback book I’d ever seen one day at my granny’s house. I asked her what it was about and she said that it was about "a very stubborn, selfish woman".
Something about the way she looked when she said it sparked my interest. By then I had several younger (& much cuter) cousins to compete with and I was always trying to impress her, so I decided to read it so that she and I would have something in common. Little did I know that this fat, thick book was going to shape my thinking in a profound way. Looking back now, I can say that most of my opinions about manners, traditions and all things southern I would learn from reading and rereading and rereading the book Gone With the Wind. I highly recommend reading it at least one time (but why stop there). ;)
What are some books that you enjoyed as a kid? Leave a comment below, I would love to hear about your best book friends! ;) I'm in the middle of a book club post & an amazon haul post. KIM has been the DIY queen and is going to be sharing some projects she's been working on. The kids & I went to visit a couple of weeks ago and I could not get over how much work she has done on their house!! They have the cutest, most comfy home, decorated with personal artwork, their photography, cool vintage finds, awesome concert posters...I wish she would do a Home Tour video to share. I absolutely love her decorating style (& like pretty much every thing else she does, it's the coolest ever). So, we will just wait patiently for that (Kim, we are looking at you). I can't wait for you to see what she's done with her old kitchen table!!!! It's Crazytowne!!! Thanks for stopping by to visit, friends! Mwah, Mandy