Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Childhood revisited

I just finished reading the memoir "An American Childhood" by Annie Dillard and wow, what a lovely read!

I enjoyed reading about the author's days spent as a young girl growing up in Pittsburgh in the 50s, throwing ice balls, reading books, spending summers with her Scottish-Irish grandparents, and collecting and identifying rocks, among others. There were hours spent learning to dance, hours spent praying in church (but checking if others were praying too), and vacations which called for diving into the cool waters and boating with her dad.

Her stories hint of a privileged childhood, but you don't get the feeling that the author was showing off. Instead, I felt like she was a best friend telling me about her life while we sit drinking iced tea and giggling over funny anecdotes while outside the hot summer sun is preparing for sunset across the beach we're in.

I have always loved reading, for books take me places I can't physically go to. Books let me meet people I wouldn't otherwise bump into on the streets of Manila.

Reading also makes me introspective. This book, for instance, brought memories of my own childhood -- times spent climbing the guava tree in the backyard, waiting for the neighbor's santol fruits to drop on our side of the fence when someone climbs their tree and shakes it so the ripe fruits fall, following with my eyes the little colorful fishes as they go round and round in the little aquarium my sister and brother-in-law bought.

I also remember going up on the roof and just sitting there mid-afternoon because there's nothing to do and the view up there seemed different.

I remember piano lessons in school with Miss Arceo, and more piano lessons at home with teachers I can't bear coz they either seemed to be bored or frustrated with me that I got a slight slap on my hands whenever I made mistakes.

There was Snoopy, our white (or make that off-white) poodle who one day ran out of our gate. I was so heartbroken, our neighbor volunteered to help me look for him at the city dog pound and a nearby barangay.

I remember I had a birthday party at home and we kids danced to the hottest tune then -- "El Bimbo". To this day I remember that dance step.

And how can I forget playing bahay-bahayan with my cousins at our bahay kubo in the backyard? We dressed our dolls, pretended we were cooking, and swept the floor to keep house.

I hope we can all find time to read books -- not just social media posts and news articles, but real books to widen our world and inspire us to journey on this life with a spring in our step and hope for the future.

BOOK OF THE WEEK: Tonight I started reading "Silver Linings" by Cathy S. Babao, a collection of her heartwarming posts on Facebook. Cathy writes from the heart.

VERSE OF THE WEEK: "And may you have the power to understand, as all God's people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is." Ephesians 3:18