Most of us were fortunate to have someone read to us when we were small children. I still have memories of snuggling up against my mother while she read to me. Mr. Flibbertyjibbet was a favorite. Listening to Mom read those stories instilled a great desire in me to be able to read on my own. What a thrill it was when I did learn to read with the help of Dick, Jane, Baby Sally, Spot and Puff--the characters in the reading series used in my grade school.
Before long, I was checking books out of the library at a rapid pace and reading became a passion. At the tme, we lived in a 2 bedroom apartment that also had a small kitchen, living room, dining room and one bathroom. I was the oldest of 4 children, spread across sixteen years. When I learned to read there were only two of us, but in time two more brothers were added to our family. In a small apartment and the growing family, I was never alone. I had no room of my own to disappear into. There was no home office. Nor was there both living room and family room. We had no garage to escape to either. Wherever I went, someone else was there. The only place I could be all by myself was the bathroom and with only one, we weren't allowed to dawdle in there.
But when I read a book, I was alone. It didn't matter what was going on around me. My brothers could be playing games or watching our tiny TV or arguing. Mom might be in the kitchen banging pots and pans as she worked on getting dinner for our family. Dad often spent time fixing things when he was home, and when he did, he always hummed. None of that mattered to me for I was lost in a book and heard none of it.
I also often didn't hear my mother calling me to come and help her and that proved to be a cause for a raised voice and a scolding. Once involved in a book, I was as far away as if I'd rocketed to the moon. Reading was an escape from the everyday life. It provided me with dreams for my future and inspired me to pursue as much education as possible.
Those hours spent alone with books also left me with the hope of becoming a writer someday. That someday turned out to be half a century later, but it did happen.
As the poster above states, reading teaches us to be alone and I would add, to do so happily. When reading a book, I feel as if I have the warmth of a comforter around me, the joy of visiting faraway places, and a sense of total peace. It's always been that way for me with reading and I pray it will stay so forevermore.
How about you? Do you like the feeling of being alone with a book? Or do you need more than that?