Frontier Girl?

kitcarson.jpgWhoof! Sorry. I do NOT like real estate developers! But I don’t hate everybody and I used to have a crush on Kit Carson when I was a kid!

Grok grok. Whuddarya thinkin’ now, y’ ol’ bag! Grok grok. Ol’ Kit Carson wuz dead long bee-fore you were born. Stooopid ol’ bag. Grok grok. (Get off my blahg, Froggy.) Anyway, I was doing some writing this morning and Diane Rehm was droning along in the background.

Somdbody Somebody said, “Kit Carson,” and all of a sudden I was transported back to the kids’ section of the Carnegie Public Library in Sault Ste. Siberia. I was about nine or ten and I was hooked on biographies. Specifically the Childhood of Famous Americans series. I just googled that, I certainly didn’t remember the name of the series and probably couldn’t have cared less as a kid.

Those books wouldn’t win any awards for great literature and I’m not even sure how accurate they are. Formulaic stories about events that purportedly happened to famous Americans during their childhoods, they had anti-climatic endings that mentioned one or two facts about the subject’s adult accomplishments and that was it. Small wonder that I have such a tenuous grasp of American history.

Nevertheless, I checked out every single blasted biography that I could get my hands on. Five at a time, that was the limit. I would schlep my books up out of the dank basement where the kids’ books were kept and fill out the little white form required to check them out. I felt really important doing that and carefully printed my name, address, and phone number, and the title, author, and copy number of each book. I’d hand it to the librarian at the counter, who was often my great aunt Anna Raeburn, schlep my books home, and get down to reading.

Thomas Jefferson and George Washington and Clara Barton may have been interesting, but I identified with the frontier boys the best. Kit, Davy Crockett, Daniel Boone. I don’t remember exactly why, but I think I daydreamed about going on wilderness adventures with them. I was pretty wild at that age, but my adventures were limited to running and jumping and dare-devil bike-riding and playing kickball in the street in my south-side Siberian neighborhood.

I don’t remember what kind of books I moved on to after that little phase. My kids definitely sought out better literature than I did. Grok grok. Yeah, *they* read stuff like Froggy Gets Dressed. Grok grok. Groog, getcher own blahg! Groog?

9 Responses to “Frontier Girl?”

  1. Webmomster Says:

    My earliest memories of “category” type reading was that of folks (usually my age) dealing with various handicaps, such as blindness, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, etc. Guess – given my ever-worsening myopia at the time – I had a fear of going blind, and needed to know that life could maintain a sense of normalcy…

    There was also a spate of biographies (I remember one about Isadora Duncan…more for the description of her grotesque death than for the incredible career in ballet) – again, like your memories, those superficial bios written for kids.

    Then, along came SCIENCE FICTION! Gawd. That phase lasted from high school up until Isaac Asimov’s death – when I suddenly lost interest (probably because he was my favorite author, and his death meant “no more good stories”).

    Now, it’s primarily Mysteries. And short stories. Matches my attention span.

  2. kayak woman Says:

    omg Karen! I had/have myopia too. In 4th grade, it was just called “You need glasses to see the [chalk]board.” At around 22, my vision stabilized and what I call my “distance vision” has not changed since. To see up close, I just take the blasted distance glasses off. But I was *never* afraid of going blind!

    I did read sci-fi for *years*. Asimov and Bradbury and many others. But I can’t remember a particular genre that came between those biographies and sci-fi.

  3. Isa Says:

    Anne of Green Gables, anyone?

    Little House on the Prairie?

    Narnia? for some reason i can’t remember any other books right now.

  4. kayak woman Says:

    Those mushroom planet books, for one thing. And Roald Dahl. And don’t forget Charlotte’s Web and Wind in the Willows. We were reading the last two to you when you were *three*. You did a lot of informational reading too when you were able to read independently. I remember when “informational reading” was a big buzzword at Haisley.

  5. Pooh Says:

    I remember those biographies too.

    I didn’t remember Anna Raeburn being the librarian. Although, oddly enough, I had a dream w/ her in it last night. She brought me a stalk of Queen’s Anne’s lace – very dried out and brown, (the flowers, not Anna), then she left for church with another woman. I knew I should know the other woman, but didn’t, so I had to ask Bubs who she was. Now I can’t remember what Mom said. I really don’t want to get started on how weird my dreams can be.

    Back to the books. After the biographies, I do remember going through the phase of many people reading the same book simultaneously. Kind of like the “Harry Potter” books.
    I do remember team-reading “Gone with the Wind” and “Dr. Zhivago” as teens at the cabin. Should he have left his wife for Lara? Did Scarlett really complain about her “huge” 20-inch waist after having three children? Pooh, did you steal my book and read past my bookmark?!?? (Maybe, yes, and look up “biblioklept” in the dictionary to see my picture.)

  6. kayak woman Says:

    I don’t think Ann Raeburn was an actual librarian, just worked there. I didn’t feel like complicating my entry by trying to ‘splain all that but it’s completely appropriate in comments. She was high school valedictorian but I don’t think she went to college. The library paid her some little pittance all the years she worked there. In later years, Katie was on the library board for a while and put up a fierce battle to get them to pay her more. Ultimately successful, if I remember correctly. Probably not a real living wage though.

    Yeah, I have a very clear memory of you sitting in the old cabin for all of about three days, oblivious to the rest of the world, reading “Gone With the Wind.” I did read those books in high school, as well as such large tomes as “Hawaii.”

    I had *bizarre* dreams last night. People and aminalswho are dead (including my dog Tigger, who also talked) were alive and for a while, I was skating all over Laurie Pingatore’s basement. Ice skating. No ice. Go figure.

  7. elizabeth carter Says:

    I love reading these blogs you write. Think its interesting to read about the land developers, and sorry to be antogonistic but I wish y’all had more help in preventing that development, wish it could remain undisturbed, I’m sorry they are so gaudy and garish in their invading. Dopes. Hope they run out of money, hope they go broke, hope trees and beautiful shrubbery encroach on every road they try to clear! Hope they go away.
    I loved to read also, The Dana Girls Mystery Stories. Ernest Hemingway was a favorite for awhile also. Still do read but I need more time.
    Keep on bloggin.

  8. Webmomster Says:

    OMG! How can I forget “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” and “Sheep in a Jeep”??? They weren’t written until we all had kids of our own, but those were SO MUCH FUN to read – just the fun use of words and word pictures!!

    Oh, yeah! And “One berry, two berry, pick me a blueberry…”


  9. kayak woman Says:

    Jamberry!! Totally forgot that ol’ boy!