Sunday, January 9, 2011

This Friendly Village - Some History

 When I first learned to read I practiced on a children’s reader called Friendly Village. A charming chapter book, it was handed down from oldest sibling to youngest in my family. I remember being read to and reading from this book. Its hard bound, warm brown cloth covering has a simple orange and blue title and drawing stamped into the fabric of the front. Well loved and well used, it currently holds a place on a bookshelf in my home where only the most special volumes reside. The corners of its hard cover are tattered and worn to the layered board underneath and it came to me with a few of the pages still turned down at the corners where an eager reader didn’t want to lose his or her place. Inside both front and back, it is embellished with the names and random dates and drawings of me and my sibs. Who knows what the inspiration for these embellishments were, but they are priceless in our childish hands.

 I'm not sure how this volume ended up in our family. It may have been passed on to my mom by a friend who thought her family was finished with it. The name and address of a boy unknown to me is penciled above the crayon markings of our family, along with the year 1939. The original copyright of the book is 1936 and my parents didn't get married and begin a family until the fifties. In fact, I'm not sure exactly when it became ours. The address inside is one from a state our family did not live in during the few moves we made. It may have been picked up at a library or book sale. I can only imagine how many hands it passed through during those fourteen or more years until in landed in our home. I should probably ask, but it takes my imagination any number of places to wonder.

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