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Posts Tagged ‘indian in the cupboard’

Book Cover - The Return of the Indian The concept of time travel has always fascinated me. I’m not sure, but I think it started some time in grade school, probably from watching The Twilight Zone. One of the first short stories I ever wrote had a time travel twist.  Now, I go to time travel movies; I read time travel books; I watch time travel television shows. Currently I’m reading The Return of the Indian to a fourth grade classroom (I volunteer for Read Aloud West Virginia) and I just last night watched the first two episodes of season four of Quantum Leap. (Thanks to my generous neighbor Ann who owns the complete DVD collection of that show. Yum!)
Quantum Leap - Season Four Cover

Several years ago I was visiting my hometown while reading The Time Traveler’s Wife. There are several scenes in that book where the time traveler interacts with himself at various ages. Being in Lincoln in the neighborhood where I grew up got me to thinking, what if I went for a walk and bumped into my 15-year old self … what would I say to her?

Would I warn her to not get married at 19? Would I tell her to buy stock in Microsoft? Would I beg her to finish college? It seemed like there were so many things I could let her in on that would ultimately result in my life being … being what? Less marred with error? Richer? Happier? Better?
Book Cover - The Time Traveler's Wife

But maybe not. Maybe it would just be different. Maybe not better at all!

There were important lessons I learned from all the choices I made–good and bad. They were lessons I could never learn any way but by living my life. No one could tell me those things, not even my older self! I wouldn’t have believed me, anyway. I know me. I’m skeptical, wary, and slow to trust a stranger, even one who looks just like … uh … my mother and my father blended and then aged. Hmmmm. I’m pretty sure I would have quizzed such a being long and hard before listening.

But if I had somehow convinced her, what would I have said? The best I could come up with was to simply tell her that she was smarter, stronger, and more courageous than she realized. I suppose my 99-year-old self would be telling me that now, too!

So, what would you tell your teenage self if you met her on the street?

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This morning I had my first Read Aloud session with Mrs. Landon’s class at Weberwood Elementary. It’s a third-fourth grade split classroom. Last year it was all third graders. I was delighted to see some fourth graders I remember fondly from last year. They remembered me, too, smiling, waving, and making me feel right at home. Oh, how I love reading to these kids!

It’s especially meaningful to be reading at Weberwood, where my son attended grade school. As I walk through the front door, I feel like I’ve gone back in time. It looks, sounds, and smells so familiar. The same woman sits at the secretary’s desk; the librarian, too, is the same. As children move through the hall, I expect to see my son and his little friends smiling, giggling, and trying to walk in a straight line. Wasn’t it just a few years ago I was regularly stopping by for birthday lunches, classroom parties, and parent-teacher conferences? I typeset the school newsletter and faithfully attended every Halloween parade, Christmas concert,  and spring carnival. Sigh. Nineteen years have passed since Britain first walked through those doors.

Image of book cover: The Indian in the Cupboard

Book #1

I wonder if all that remembering influenced my choice of books: The Indian In The Cupboard  series. I love to indulge in the fantasy of time travel! I read the first book last year and hope to read the second and third books this year, maybe even the fourth, if I don’t miss any weeks.

Reading to this classroom once a week for about 30 minutes is such a joy. I love the way they listen, ask questions, and beg me to keep reading. They titter when I read forbidden words like “shut up,” “stupid” or “jerk.”  They especially love learning the British English words from the books and then trying them out on their parents.

Image of Book Cover: The Return of the Indian

#2 – Just Started

I’m so grateful I signed up as a reader. I look at those eager, smiling faces and I remember how very special this time is in a child’s life. The world is still predictable and mostly safe. In this school, the children’s problems are small and their questions are easily answered. It’s a pleasure to pour love and caring into their open hearts and offer them a gift that can last a lifetime: a love for books and reading.

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