For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for books. We may not have had a lot of money when I was little, and there was no cable or vhs tapes or video games. Just channels 4, 5, 7, 9, 20 and on a clear night PBS on channel 32. No matter how bad off we were, no matter how many homes we moved into, our books always came with us. My mom had inherited a fascinating library from her mother. My father made a bookcase out of ply board painted white and cinderblocks. Part of this library was The Complete Works of William Shakespeare that were legacy bound and over 100 years old by the time I laid my small hands on them. Their pages yellowed in the middle and brown and crisp around the edges. I will never forget the smell of history that would meander from it’s pages every time you opened them. The energy that was ever present in the room when you would touch them as if they held the life energy of decades of being held and read by numerous generations. The love and respect they carried in their spine was unmistakable. The elegant calligraphy laid on the pages like works of art not to be forgotten. As a young child not old enough to comprehend the words strung together by Shakespeare, but I understood what we possessed. I understood that those books were the most valuable things we would ever own as a family. I understood, the power of words, that each book was a gift given to us by the author that should be cherished. It was sin in my home to mistreat a book in any way. They were more valuable than money, because you could not buy the rewards that they gave you. Our library was destroyed sadly when I entered high school. To this day, you cannot mention the event without piercing my mothers heart. I want so much to pass my passion for books and reading on to my daughter. To pass on my love of old books of any genre, so she can feel what I feel when I hold them, smell them when I thumb threw their pages. When I drink in their words like moonlight. I have to compete with a dizzying array of modern distractions: Game Boys, Cable Television, Internet, X-Boxes, DVDs, Ipods. I continue to try, especially during the summer months when the days are long, the air is hot and still. I am not wealthy, but if I succeed, I know it will be one of the greatest gifts I could give to her.
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