Every time Dad built a fire in the fire place, my brother and I would stare at the flames on the logs and say "Look! Scupper's house is burning!" It's an inside joke that only he and I share, my younger siblings unaware of the meaning behind it. Still today when I see a fire in a fireplace, that's what comes to mind.
Some of my earliest memories are of children's books we loved. One one of our favorite books when we were very little was about a dog named Scupper. Or so I have thought for almost 60 years now that his name was Scupper. In fact, when I Googled it, this book is all over the Internet. Perhaps it was one of your favorites too!
But I digress. The Sailor Dog starts out with this line: "Born at sea in the teeth of a gale, the sailor was a dog. Scuppers was his name." This little dog sailed the seas in a sailboat with a colorful sail that was shipwrecked at one point. He built himself a house on the shore where he landed, made of driftwood and other discarded items. At some point in the story his house must have caught on fire and thus our reference every time we saw the fire in the fireplace, crackling and mesmerizing as we sat there in our feet pajamas on the braided rug by the hearth on a cold winter's night.
Another book I just loved was called Twilight Town, written by Mary Francis Blaisdell. Does anyone remember this book? I loved to listen to my mother reading this book. It was all words, few pictures so we certainly had to use our imaginations. It was all about toys coming alive at night and for years I wanted to catch my toys in the act. The interesting thing I found out about this book is that it was written in 1913, 40 years before I ever heard it. The book my mother read from was a hard covered book, rough to the touch and musty smelling. My guess is that it had probably been my grandmother's as a child. And, unlike today, as far as I know, there were no vampires in this Twilight Town. Here is an excerpt from the Preface of the book:
"TWILIGHT TOWN WAS IN THE PLAYROOM, BUT THE CHILDREN
HAD NEVER SEEN IT. THEY HAD NEVER EVEN HEARD OF IT, BECAUSE IT WAS A
BUT THE FAIRY WITH THE GOLDEN WAND KNEW IT WAS THERE, AND SHE ALWAYS
CAME AT TWILIGHT TO OPEN THE GATE AND SET THE TOYS FREE TO TALK AND PLAY
TOGETHER FOR ONE LITTLE HAPPY HOUR.
THEN SUCH GOOD TIMES AS THEY HAD WITH TEDDY BEAR TO LEAD THE FUN. DOLLY
GAY TOOK A RIDE IN THE RED AUTOMOBILE, AND ROSABELLE WENT SAILING WITH
JOLLY JACK TAR IN HIS SHIP ON THE SEA. THE LITTLE DOLLS HAD A PICNIC IN
THE GREEN FOREST, AND THE TIN SOLDIERS FOUGHT A DREADFUL BATTLE."
When I think about it, the books we loved when we were little usually were fantasy and almost always about animals. I must keep that in mind when I choose what I will read to Lily and Owen, our littlest grandbabies. Last week on Facetime I told not-quite-three-year-old Lily we'd be going to the zoo when she comes for a visit. When I asked her what her favorite zoo animal is she didn't hesitate at all and responded "I like Unicorns." I told her that I was sorry but we didn't have any Unicorns at our zoo. "Well, how about zebras?" she asked. She seemed okay with that. I guess I better get to the book store and find something about Unicorns or zebras!
Leave your comments here or email me. I'd love to hear what some of your early books were. Have fun remembering them. I did.