The one with all the books. August 14, 2006Posted by table4five in Family, Parenting, personal thoughts.
Today marks the 37th season of Sesame Street. And while I’m still reeling from the fact that I am older than Sesame Street, I’m also joining Mrs. Davis from The Lovely Mrs. Davis Tells You What To Think in commemorating the occasion by posting about my favorite childhood books and TV shows.
How old am I? I am SO OLD, when I was a kid there were only four channels on TV. FOUR. ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. We also had this huge box that sat on top of the TV with a giant dial that turned the antenna on the roof (remember those?), and on really clear days we could pull in CKLW, a Windsor, Ontario station that showed “Bill Kennedy at the Movies.” My parents dictated everything we watched, except on Saturday morning when my brother and sister and I watched cartoons. I know Sesame Street was on, but I honestly don’t remember watching it. When I was a pre-schooler, I have no memory of watching TV at all.
I do, however, have a crystal-clear memory of being in the second grade, during a rainy day when outside recess was cancelled, and we sat on the floor in our classroom and watched “The Electric Company” on a TV that was wheeled in on a cart. I’ve looked at the DVD of the show, and none of it rings any bells, except for one thing. There was a song, used to teach kids how to pronounce “tion” at the end of a word. The only part of the song I remember is the chorus, which went “t i o n shun shun shun shun!” So I would like to buy that DVD, and share that little bit of my childhood memory with them.
Books, however, are an entirely different story. I started reading when I was three. I progressed from Golden Books to chapter books by first grade. The first book series I read was “Little House on the Prairie”. My Mother had to write a note to my first grade teacher giving permission for me to check out those books from the “older readers” section of the school library, and I had to read a page out loud to my teacher to prove I could read all the words. This, I remember doing.
My boys have shown no interest in the “Little House” books, not even the “boy” ones like “Farmer Boy“. I’m hoping Kaitlyn will want to read them, and will be careful with my first edition paperbacks. My Mother saved every book she ever bought me, and I now have them in carefully packed boxes in the basement. I’m hoping Kaitlyn will want to read “Harriet the Spy“, “The Moffats“, “All-of-a-Kind Family“, and “Understood Betsy“. I want her to read “B is for Betsy“, “Papa Pellerin’s Daughter” (out of print), and “Laura’s Luck“.
There’s “The Good Master“, and “The Singing Tree“, “A Wrinkle in Time“, and “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”.
And then there are my Raggedy Ann and Andy books. I have first edition hardcovers of every book in the series. These are extra-carefully packed away. I got them out once to show Nathan, hoping he would share my excitement at the wonder and magic of the stories. But he didn’t, because the stories are about dolls and stuffed animals. If Kaitlyn doesn’t want to read them either, then I will just keep them for myself. Because there is NOTHING that will make me part with those books.
Even though I have much stronger and fonder memories of the books I read as a kid, I still have great respect for Sesame Street. We’ll be tuning in to see the new season and meet the new Muppet Abby Cadabby. In fact, my husband, who I never think is paying attention to things like kids’ TV shows, told me about it today, and said “they have a new cute little Muppet this season.” Awwww! He is such a Dad.