Mary Freeman Boardman


Books have always been part of my life.  Back when I was a child, the library had what we called a “Traveling Library.”  It wasn’t fancy at all.  Just a large box van with shelves filled with books.  It came around every few weeks.  We were allowed to climb the steps into it and wander along its shelves until we found the perfect book to check out and read until the next time it came around.

I always checked out the number of books allowed per customer and usually by the end of the second day, I had read them all.  Didn’t matter to me in the least.  I just started over again.  I loved the books.  I loved the way they smelled.  I loved the way they felt.  I was totally addicted to them.  Still am.

We lived out in the country.  Trips into town were limited to once every two weeks.  My time at the actual library was very limited.  If someone would have thrown some food and water my way, every once in a while, I could have lived quite happily in the library.

I can still remember walking up those stairs.  I was awe struck each time I opened the library door.  That first smell of books as I walked in was wonderful.  I would walk up to the section I wanted and run my fingers across the spines.  It was sheer pleasure.  Then, to actually hold any book I wanted in my hands had to have been something akin to an alcoholic’s first taste of liquor after not having any for a few weeks.

Writers like Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Agatha Christie, Barbara Cartland, to name just a few, all went home with me at some point.  They still do.  Plus hundreds of others since that time so long ago.

Once I started reading, I seemed to check out of this world and into the book world.  I can remember numerous times when riding the school bus home after school, I would start reading and I would be so engrossed in the story, the bus driver, after going three stops beyond my getting off point, would finally get my attention and tell me he thought maybe I should get off the bus.  Then, I would wind up having to walk the long distance back to my house!

What books did you get lost in as a child?

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