Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Reading and Cows

As almost everyone knows by now, as soon as my sister Martha learned how to read, she taught me.

I was four years old, and at that age I thought reading was like a magic trick: The magician takes some letters, puts them inside his hat, says "Abracadabra," and they pop out as words that turn into pictures.

Now I'm much older and I don't believe in magic anymore except for reading which continues to be magic.

Sometimes I wonder what I would've done if someone had explained reading to me before I was born and then said, "But you'll never be able to do it, ever."

I can't picture life without reading, even if it's put into words.

Shortly after Martha taught me to read, I started staying at my grandmother's house while Mama Joyce worked. My cousin Joyce Elaine also stayed there, but she was at school.

Joyce Elaine's mom (Mama Joyce's sister) lived in Jacksonville, 113 miles from Grandmother's house, so they only got to see each other every other weekend so.

To make Joyce Elaine happier to see her, her mom -- my aunt Cathy -- almost always brought comic books when she visited. It sure made me happier to see her!

(She brought records, too, but that's a story for another day.)

Superman was one of the first I read, so it was my favorite. It's where I learned the word "vulnerable." I liked young Jimmy Olsen, wasn't sure what Clark Kent saw in Lois Lane, was already surprised that people could hide their identity simply by wearing glasses, and was disturbed by Clark's boss Perry White always losing his temper.

As you probably know, White yelled "Great Caesar's ghost" every time he got angry. Back then, people in comic books didn't cuss.

But the first time Aunt Cathy brought a Batman comic over, Superman dropped to second place.

Admittedly, it troubled me that Batman had no super powers and even made me a little skeptical of his heroics. But I was won over by the darkness of it, the actual darkness, meaning almost every frame had a black or dark blue background, and it emphasized the yellow city lights of Gotham. Sort of creepy. Plus, I lived deep in the country, so cities were creepy even without the added darkness.

And the word "Gotham" interested me for some reason.

(I now interrupt this fascinating memoir to go pick up my kittens from the vet. More later!)

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