A Family Reading Legacy and an Exciting Collaboration
Although my somewhat dazed expression in this photo from 1950 may not reflect it, I’ve had a lifelong love of reading, which I attribute in no small part to my mother’s lifelong love of reading. As of this writing, mom has been continually engaged with the same book club for well over 40 years!
I got my first library card when I was about three. There I stood looking up at Ms. Heitman from her perch at the reference desk at the Finklestein Memorial Library in Spring Valley N.Y.
“ May I have a library card?” I asked (I’d already been instructed in the difference (between may I and can I?)
“How old are you?” asked Mrs.Heitman,
I counted on my fingers…”Three!”
“Can you write your name?”
“I’’ll be back!”
And I was , and motivated as I was it was within a few weeks. I’ve been haunting libraries, and surrounding myself with books ever since.
Our son Chris has been visiting us this week, which among other things presented an opportunity to look through family photos.
This photo of Chris and Renee’s daughters, Maya and Raina is a treasure. Maya is eleven, Raina is one and to see Maya reading to Raina is a treasure. Maya is reading a book we gave to her some years ago.
Now here’s a picture of Liz and I reading to Maya when she was about 2+. We’re reading one of the Golden Book classics, Big Brown Bear, published in 1948 the year of my birth. It’s the first book I have a clear memory of and which in another post I’ll credit with pointing me to ten years of adventure in Alaska (that as they say is another story)
So there’s a lineage here of the love of books and reading.
I’ve been thinking a lot about legacy gifts recently and suddenly I pictured Maya and Raina, together someday far in the future, two venerable old sisters, poring over a family heirloom- this photograph of the two of them, and a rendering of the moment by my incredibly talented artist friend Peter Menice. Peter recently created this Dig Into Reading poster for me for my 2013 Summer Reading Library Tour. I figured this could make a great Christmas gift for the girls and Peter was just the person to pull it off.
Let me just say that when I presented the idea to Peter it was a like lighting a firecracker with a short fuse. Peter just about exploded with enthusiasm and burst of possibilities. That’s Peter always ready willing, eager and ready to take an idea or concept, collaborate, create, and find an opportunity to express his passion and find a way to bring his core and essence to his life and work. (Find Peter at PeterMenice.com)
So Peter proposed to go beyond the simple idea of the commission I offered, and turn this into a deeper collaboration. He’s going to not only do the art work, but document his creative process as the piece develops, and share it with his circle of friends and colleagues through his website and Facebook connections. I’ll do the same here at the Storytellers Campfire. Let’s see how that photo of Maya and Raina becomes one of Peter’s interpretations and creations.
“The best way to to squeeze the wine out of good fortune is to dance on it with ready feet.” So I have heard. What good fortune to have a friend like Peter, What good fortune to have been given the legacy of the love of reading. What good fortune to have had an opportunity to pass it on. What good fortune to watch my granddaughters grow, and to be truly curious kids and what greater good fortune can there be than to see their love for each other.
So here’s to the love of books and reading, here’s to families reading together, and here’s to the creative and collaborate spirit. I invite my friends and readers to follow as Peter renders this though his imagination, spirit and talent.
I really welcome and encourage comments, reflections, memories that this process may spark and would also be grateful to those who see fit to share this post/process with folks who you think might appreciate it. Thanks!