Minnie Pearl – daughter of Minerva and my mother’s nickname as dubbed by her daughters – my sister and I – had the dubious pleasure of being born on the Ides of March. My sister and I took immense pleasure in this fact – thus, we always referred to her via her nickname. She pretended to be slightly annoyed and that was the icing on the cake for us…especially since our father joined in the festivity with ice cream and cake.
Minnie Pearl was a truly special person – not only to us, her children and grands but also to the children for whom she gifted the love of books and reading over her lifetime, during her tenure as a children’s and branch librarian. She was an avid reader, never without a book in her hands or tucked under her left arm – except probably when she slept or bathed or was engaged in an activity that required use of her arms/hands… I remember calculating once that she read, on average, a minimum of 25 books a week, in all genres, both fiction, non-fiction, for all ages. She was an inveterate reader. Full stop.
Mama – her other name <smile> – apparently learned to read at a very young age; she lived about 4-5 blocks from the local branch of the public library and there she would escape her three younger sisters and a wicked stepfather (not mother). She managed to read all the books in the children’s section by about age 8 and the librarians decided there was nothing left but the “adult section” and so they let her have at it! That sealed it! She was forever hooked – and that love for books and reading was transferred to us: my sister and me and the grands and great grands and I’m sure their children.
She was the church organist during her pre-teen and teen years: during those periods in between announcements, sermons, she read : the Bible, more than once; Greek and Roman myths; classics; and I don’t doubt, some “forbidden fruit,” aka adult novels. I suspect she kept the books sequestered among the musical scores.
Mama also had another favorite place to read : a tree outside her second floor bedroom window. She would lock the door and climb out into the tree and read. Her sisters and stepfather were most irritated, to say the least. Mama just smiled, read and ignored. I remember thinking when she shared this story how neat that was; oh, that I could have such an adventure…
These days, Covid-19 notwithstanding, I have nearly all the time – tho’ not the tree – in the world to emulate Mama, but perhaps not. Other demands for my attention seem to be winning. At the end of January, I did a rough calculation of the number of pages in my stacks of books to be read…then : More than 4000! And that number does not include digital, audio or those print titles I’ve since added either because I forgot to initially include or they appeared in my life screaming “choose me!”
Today’s agenda is full – but there’s room for me to take time to add more reading minutes into the schedule, e.g, as I eat breakfast, listen as I drive to my appointment and continue reading (with my eyes or earbuds if my eyes are dilated) as I wait to see the doctor.
I have shared many times that my secret desire is to be cloned – so much I want to do and were there more of me, well… but, since cloning is not an option, I guess my next best option is to implement practices I can do.
What’s on your to be read list?