Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Little Golden Books and others of my childhood

My friends were recently talking about how their parents taught them prayers or sang lullabies and other pre-bedtime rituals when they were young. For the life of me, I could not remember what my parents did. As I was wiki-surfing last night, I ran across a listing of nursery rhymes and found a link to the Little Golden Books wiki page. I remembered. We read. They read to me every night, pointing to the words as they said them. When I saw the nursery rhymes, I could recite most of them from memory as soon as I heard the titles, some of them I hadn't recited in twenty years. I remember those three little kittens and their dirty mittens. I remember that pokey little puppy. And so many times growing up, I heard about the little red hen. The Golden Books used to come with diapers, I think, or else they mysteriously appeared when Mom and Dad would come home from the store when buying diapers... I always put the two together for some reason.

As I grew up, my parents also bought The Berenstain Bears books and Mercer Mayer's Little Critter books. Our copy of Goodnight Moon is tattered and worn. My Courderoy book and The Ox Cart Man are well-loved. Love You Forever, Strega Nona, and The Quilt Story were among my childhood favorites, too.

My parents read every night, and after a while I could recite the books faster than they could read them. They'd point to a word and I'd know exactly what the word was without knowing how to read. Where's Goldie was one of those books I knew top-to-bottom. Go Dog Go! was another. When I wasn't ready for bed, I'd beg them to let me stay up and watch my one little-kid video, Wee Sing Together. I am not kidding when I say that tape almost melted. I can sing every song from that movie to this day.

I still have every one of those books, and I can't wait to pass them on to my own children in the same perfect way my parents did for me.

"A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:
I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be."

1 comment:

Jeff W said...

I remember the Berenstain Bears books well- I also haven't thought about them for a while. I seem to remember the Golden Books being pretty common around the house when I was little.