Posts Tagged ‘fairy tales’

This past summer I was driving to my friend’s home in Rhode Island with my two daughters. It’s a lovely area near the beaches. Tree lined roads winding by horses grazing, babbling brooks and placid ponds. Gorgeous old, clapboard homes on green acres dot the landscape.

My eldest, who is twenty five, says, “This area is so beautiful. Not like the usual creepy New England towns.”

I exclaim, “What?? Creepy like how? A van with no windows is creepy. But not New England!”

Later on, while we are soaking up the sun on a fabulous beach, same daughter proceeds to tell my friend that ever since she was a little kid I’ve told her probably every single ghost story or mystery that took place in our part of New England.

Okay, when you put it like that. I sound like a monster.

It’s true. I might have pointed out a haunted house or two.

The Westport house where folks claimed a ghost resided.  One of the occupants fell asleep in a rocking chair and woke up with a haircut.

I probably mentioned the ghost of the red-headed hitchhiker on Interstate 195.

Most likely gave the background of the childhood rhyme about Lizzie Borden. I did take my youngest (seventeen at the time) to Lizzie’s house last year where the gruesome crimes took place.

I may have pointed out the lovely house that sits at the bottom of Metacomet golf course in my home town. Shared that murders were never a thing while I was growing up but a few years before I was born an elderly widow had been murdered in that very home during a robbery.

Could have mentioned the still unsolved mystery of the “New Bedford Highway Killer.” Eleven prostitutes went missing. Nine were found strangled and dumped in the woods. And that it was very possible a local attorney was the killer and actually indicted at one time. He moved to Florida in 1988 and there were no more murders on that stretch of highway since then.

Yes, I might have shared a story or two.

Dear Norah,

I’m very sorry and hope that you realize it’s not New England that’s creepy. Stuff happens everywhere.

It’s just your Mom who is creepy.

Hope I didn’t do too much damage. I’m just thankful that I spent a lot of quality, non-creepy time with you when you were young.

I absolutely loved cuddling up with you at bedtime every evening while reading you many, many wonderful fairy tales. As you peacefully drifted off to sleep.

Like Snow White and her killer stepmother. The orphaned Bambi who yearns for his murdered mother. Three little pigs trying to protect themselves from the wolf who wants to destroy their home. Hansel and Gretel’s great escape from the witch who attempted to burn them alive in an oven. And so many others.

I pray that, in some small way, it makes up for the ghost stories.









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I just finished an article about reading. The importance of it. More libraries equal fewer prisons. And all of that.

My mom loved to read. Still does. My grandmother, who had little education, had a book in her hand well into her nineties. Always.

We received books every Christmas. Mom didn’t buy me books every time we went to the store but I still remember the special trips to a local store, Zayre’s, when she did. I’d race to the book section and peruse the Nancy Drew section. And she would let me buy one in the series. For $1.99. I had the entire collection for years.

She always brought me to the library. Mom would go her way and I would go mine. Into the children’s and young adult section. Got hooked on mysteries. Whether they took place years ago or present day.

I could get lost in a book. I remember, more than once, someone coming to pick me up at the house when I was a teen. At the exact time that I had designated. I’d be lying on the living room sofa reading and then see the head go past the window heading toward the door. “Oh, shoot! I’m not ready!” Had no idea that so much time had passed.

And when it was my turn to have children I did the same. I bought them books for Christmas. Took them to the library for toddler time. Husband and I read to them every night. Because that is what I was taught. Just like I still iron the shirts and make the bed with hospital corners exactly the way Eileen taught me. When I was young.


On the plane

I was not big into censorship. Although I wouldn’t let my younger one read “Precious” a couple of years ago.

I remember I bought a book for one of Annie’s friends for her birthday. Written by a popular author. Plot was about two kids who had lost a parent and become friends with each other. And overcame loneliness. The mom, of the girl, looked at the book and said she would shelve it for now. That they knew someone who had died and it would be traumatic for her daughter to read anything about death.

At first I felt badly. Like I goofed in the gift giving department. But upon reflection I thought about the power of books. Of relating. Books as a friend when other people don’t get you. My gift was age appropriate. It dealt with anger and loss. When I bought it I was thinking that this was an author that the kids all enjoyed. Death was not what shrieked out at me. But the friendship. Just seemed like a good book.

And I, personally, don’t think reading words (fictional or not) about something you are experiencing yourself is harmful. We don’t forget about death or anything else just because we’re not talking about it or reading about it. Most times it is good to read and talk about it. Acknowledge it.

This woman had every right to do what she felt was the best thing. It was her daughter. Not mine.

But Nancy Drew didn’t have a mom. Mandy (one of my favorite books) was an orphan. Pippi Longstocking came from an unconventional home. Anne of the Green Gables? Orphan and loss. Bambi’s mom? Shot and killed. Of course, I could go on and on about the fairy tales. Mom bought me huge books that were loaded with them. Poisonings, jealousy, killing, cruelty, and loss all draped in color and beautiful heroes/heroines. And those are just the books written for young kids!

I loved them all.

Boy, I sure meandered in this posting. I can tell I’ll be posting more on this topic. Prompted by this morning’s article.

Next up, how Rory, unexpectedly, learned about sexual intercourse from a book that I checked out of the library for her. Was not my intention!

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