Friday, March 2, 2012

Where I Hid to Read


Perhaps it was because I was so terribly nearsighted, and the fact that we owned a television that only was turned on for shows that my parents liked, and because I knew that I was an awkward girl who didn’t attract friends, I sought information, companionship, and escape in books. Almost every noble and good thing I learned before I was ten years old came from books, including the Bible. I fell in love with books. A whole world, unlike the unhappy one of my home, was inside their covers.

I was a compliant child and rarely got into trouble. But one of the worst punishments ever inflicted on me – far more memorable to this day than anything physical – was when my mother took a half-read book away from me. Did I deserve this? Undoubtedly. She had given me The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which contained several of that detective’s most famous cases for Christmas. Sometime a day or so later she told me to vacuum and dust my room. I shut the door, turned on the vacuum with every intention of doing what she said, but saw the open book on my bed and began reading it. I never noticed the vacuum running as I finished one adventure and began another – but my mother did! And to my great distress she took the book away from me for a week. It sat on her bedside table taunting me for seven of the longest days of my life.

During the summertime, I would go out onto our Bermuda grass lawn and push aside the long branches of a weeping willow tree. There in the whispering hollow near the trunk, I would sit there for hours reading. No one could see me, and I saw nothing else but the pictures in my mind. To this day a weeping willow tree portrays protection and peace to me.

Did you ever go and hide to read when you were young? Where did you go?

12 comments:

Laura Marcella said...

Hi, Latayne! Wow, a willow tree would be a magical place to curl up and read a book. I read everywhere and anywhere, but I had no special place. Climbing a tree to read and sitting on a thick trunk, hidden by green leaves, was always fun. I often hid under the covers to read with a flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping! I found out when I got older that didn't fool my parents, but as long as they noticed I wasn't up too too long, they didn't mind.

Latayne C Scott said...

Many people say that reading under a tree was a favorite memory. I wonder why that's so. Perhaps the affinity of the pulp-based pages for their source?

Will coming generations, I wonder, seek refuge under a tree with their Kindles?

Wendy Paine Miller said...

We had a pond and a raft that floated out on it made from an old fence. I'd drift out and read on that. But it seems the opposite of hiding.
~ Wendy

Samantha Bennett said...

Oh my, what a beautiful post. I too hid to read. There was this nook in my school's library, cushioned, by the window... I absolutely loved it. I was once late for a swim meet because of that nook. My mom had come to school early to pick me up, and no one could find me. I was supposed to be at recess but had snuck to the library instead.

Susie Finkbeiner said...

I used to hide under my bed to read. I was a very private reader until high school. The problem, though, was that I couldn't hear anything while I was reading, I'd be so caught up in the story. That caused some trouble. Well, okay, it still does.

wanderer said...

I would've chosen hard labor or a whipping over losing a half-read book, and Mom knew it! This post brought it all back.

Cherry Odelberg said...

Beautiful!
After the age of 10, having my own room made a haven in which to read - irresponsibly, addicted - to the great detriment of homework and sleep cycle.

Latayne C Scott said...

I am loving all these stories of hiding and reading!

If you are my friend on Facebook (and if you're not, please send me a request), you can read many more stories that people are posting there. One thing that is surprising me is how many young boys hid to read, and where they did it!

(In a four-foot hole under a cattle-weighing scale?)

Nicole said...

Didn't have to hide to read but would enjoy reading in homemade tents in the backyard in summertime. Still a fond memory.

And I agree: in the arms of the willow tree sounds lovely.

Patti Hill said...

I made tents with sheets or blankets over the clothesline for a cocoon-like place to read. As for eReaders, will they hide under their refrigerators. Ouch!

Sandra Stiles said...

There were many places I read. It depended on if I was trying to get away from my sisters. My favorite place was the rafters of our corncrib. My sisters could play beneath me so my parents thought I was keeping an eye on them and I could sit hidden in the top reading. Another place was the back of a long closet. My sisters wouldn't go in there because they were afraid. If there was a nice breeze outside we had a huge boulder that sat next to a large maple tree. I would hide behind the boulder for hours reading away. I couldn't be seen from the house.

Sandy Frykholm said...

Thanks for this post! I grew up in Alaska, so my reading places were mostly indoors. I hid in closets with a flashlight, and once even hid in an old wooden trunk to read. But even reading in the open, I could shut out the whole world and be surrounded by the story world--which rarely happens now.