Friday, March 27, 2015

Books contain memories

Our books contain memories. Second-hand books whisper the secrets of their past lives to us while our own memories are made either through book titles that we have read, or through the physical book itself. Life events happen while we are reading a certain book, whether that life event is joyous or sorrowful, we do form emotional attachments to our books. As soon as I have read one of my books, it becomes a friend of mine, and my life memories that took place during that time that I spent reading that certain book suddenly live on in that book. 

One of my fondest memories involving books was being read aloud to as a child. My dad read "Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder to me. We read together in the evenings, sometimes even sitting on the kitchen floor together so as not to disturb the rest of the household. That book will forever be our book. It is the first chapter book that I read by myself at the age of seven, and later went on to read the complete series. This series holds a lot of memories for me as I reread it several times growing up. Especially "Little House in the Big Woods". Sadly I do not own the original copies.

A book that holds physical attachment for me are the last two books in the Harry Potter series. They seem not noteworthy for the most part, but they hold a special place in my heart because knowing how badly I wanted them upon the day of their release, my mom and dad actually went out of their way, while on a date nonetheless, to get them for me. Both times! And my dear mom, knowing how odd I am, actually went through them first at the book store to make sure that there were no imperfections. Other books that I have physical attachments with are the last few books in the Redwall series. Brain Jacques had a new book released every year just before my birthday, so for three or four birthdays I received his most recent one as a gift.

All of my read books have some form of memory walk contained in them, but the above mentioned ones are the ones that stand out the most for me.

The sorrowful emotional attachments would have to be "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne. This is the book that I was reading when my dad had his heart attack. It was also the last book that I ever discussed with him. The other one being "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Tales" by Washington Irving. It was the book that I was reading when my dad died a few weeks later after surviving his heart attack. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was the book that I tried to immerse myself with after my dad's passing, but found myself rereading the same sentences over and over again. I don't know if I would be able to reread these three books again without reopening these wounds.

As it is, those wounds have been peeling open all of this week, never having actually healed to begin with. My dear father passed away this very day, three years ago. Tomorrow would of been his birthday.

But of all of those books, it is my own mother's published books that contain the most memories for me. She writes of our family, of my father's cancer diagnosis and treatment, and later of his death, and the death of a cherished eight year old grandson (my nephew) Jacob.
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This blog posting is dedicated to my Father (David Kenyon) who now resides in Heaven. I love, and miss you dad. It is also dedicated to my beautiful, loving Mother (Mary Potter Kenyon). One of the strongest women that I have ever had the privilege of knowing, and of whom I couldn't be more proud of. Thank you both for encouraging my love of reading.
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  1. A day after dad's funeral Jacob ended up in the hospital. We spent close to a week there, had a couple days at home, then ended up in the hospital again with a bleeding ulcer which meant over 14 days in the hospital (for a total of 21 days in hospital in one month). Anyhow, I was there alone with a sick child and grieving so I turned to books. The hospital had a nice library and I loaded up on books every few days. I especially devoted Heaven Is For Real and 90 Minutes In Heaven those first few days. They helped greatly and I will forever remember them as being wonderful support during a bleak time in my (our) life.

  2. "90 Minutes in Heaven" and "Heaven is for Real" were also large support systems for me during that time. Especially knowing how much dad enjoyed "90 Minutes in Heaven", it made me feel closer to him. The beautiful descriptions of heaven helped make the pain debate just the slightest little bit.