This holiday season is all about family, giving, and love. As the snow falls today and I ignore the studying I should be doing for my finals, I’d like to share with you a special moment from my childhood that comes to mind this holiday season.
One of my earliest memory I have has made a giant impact on my life. I was only about three or four at the time. I remember being in my living room in my house in Indiana. I’m not sure what time of year it was; perhaps it was Christmas, or Easter, or at some point during the summer. I remember my grandmother was visiting from her home in New Jersey. My parents were out doing something outside or away from the house, as my memory consists of only my grandmother and I being together.
My grandmother smiled at me and sat in the recliner that was usually reserved for my dad, and pulled me into her lap. With a twinkle in her eye, she reached into her purse and took out a book she must have brought with her. I remember being shocked when I looked at the book–it was much thicker than the ones I had. I wasn’t able to read yet, but I could look at pictures and listen well. But this book didn’t have any pictures. It was all words, in large blocks of intelligible characters.
It was an adult book.
I was already preparing to be bored, and I remember being nervous.
“What is that?” I remember asking.
“Harry Potter,” she replied. She didn’t explain what the book consisted of, what it was about, why there were no pictures or if she thought I would like it or not. Instead, she simply opened the book, took a breath, and began to read.
“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
I had no idea at the time, but my life had just been changed. I was soon sucked into the world of wizards, witches, magic, and storytelling. I had never experienced anything like it. Pictures seemed to flow out of her mouth and form in my head. It was like watching television, but it used my imagination.
My grandmother read each character in a different voice, making every person come alive in a way I had ever imagined could be possible. I remember her having to pause multiple times to get drinks of water or clear her throat. It wasn’t long before I was begging her to keep going, because I wanted to know what had happened to Harry and the villain known as Voldemort.
That is one of the reasons I wanted to become a writer. I have had such an appreciation for the written word my whole life. I want to cause others to have the same kind of reaction to a fictional story that I had.
Isn’t it amazing how powerful words can be, even in the simplest of settings? Have any words ever changed your life, in a story or a setting?