My earliest memory as a kid was of books, with books. I cannot sleep if my mama won’t read me a story, or if I cannot read, a habit that I have until now. My bed was never without books scattering about or under the pillows. When I was four, I have this thick preschool encyclopaedia book of nursery rhymes and stories which you don’t usually see in the children’s section anymore. The Five Chinese Brothers, Henry and The Newspaper Route, Beezus and Ramona, The Velveteen Rabbit, Gulliver’s Travels, The Gold Bug, Rip van Winkle, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were some of my first stories. I just realized that these classics came first before the fairy tales.
Darkling* and his band of brothers used to have these reading books from school which were handed down to me. Philippine legends (Ang Alamat ng Pinya, Ang Alamat ng Sampalok, Ang Alamat ng Niyog, Ang Alamat ng Talong, Ang Alamat ng Ampalaya, Ang Alamat ng Bahay Kubo, hahahaha! The last three were just a product of my distorted mind, my gawd, why are these legends all about fruits and vegetables?), tales of Juan Tamad, these Greek, Roman and Norse mythology. I was and still am fond of Loki, the god of mischief, and the story of him giving Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer to the giants, causing Thor to crossdress in order to get back his hammer, is one of my favourites. Beowulf and Grendel, Heidi, Nibelungenlied, Jason and The Argonauts, King Arthur and The Knights of The Round Table, even stories of Carlo and Rita, oh my gawd, does anyone still remember them?! Hahahaha! Carlo and Rita were like the model kids back then for good manners and right conduct.
Does anyone remember The Berenstain Bears? Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Brother Bear, Sister Bear, Honey Bear? Awwww, I miss these books, I used to hog them all to myself during kindergarten days, waiting in the library for my father to pick me up from school. When I get very very rich some day, I will buy all The Berenstain Bears books out there for my collection. The Golden Books also are soooooo classic! I think I read all of the Golden Books in our kindergarten library, I too want them in my collection. Please, God, let me be rich now! These books cost silver and gold nowadays!
But I never really read paperbacks until I was in high school. My friend Elizabeth asked me if I like reading and I said yes, and she asked me what books I read, and if I read Sweet Valley Twins. I said no, I never read anything of the series, and I asked her if it was any good. Said she that it is, maybe it was really good since I always see her reading that book during our free time. She lent me 2 Sweet Valley Twins books to read over the weekend. I told her that I am okay with 1 book only since I might not finished it right away. I got the feeling way back then that it would take me months to finish one paperback. I started reading when I got home from school and 2 hours later, I was dialing Elizabeth’s number.
Me: Liz! How many Sweet Valley Twins do you have there?
Liz: Around 20. (She is a fan and a SVT collector, I loved her to pieces.) Why?
Me: I finished reading your book. I was thinking you could bring some more tomorrow?
Liz: Oh, you’re done? Haha! Okay, I will bring you 3 books tomorrow.
Me: Yay! Thanks, Liz!
Liz: You know what? Come to our house on Saturday, or you can go with me to my ballet class and after that, we will have a reading session at home.
Me: I would love that! See you on school tomorrow!