Saturday, April 2, 2016

The A-Z of Melody McDonald: "B" is for Books and Birthdays

Melody is a book fiend. As a child, she had a number of books that were hers, but most of the books she read either came from the Costa Mesa Public Library or were school textbooks. That is, until she finished reading all the books in the children’s section of the library.

That is when birthdays really came into the picture. Well, all right; birthdays in the McDonald household were almost as exciting as Christmas and Easter. And Thanksgiving. Actually, Melody’s birthday was really exciting because Melody’s birthday was two weeks before Halloween and, more often than not, she got to have a Halloween party and invite all of her friends over in their Halloween costumes and then they’d all go trick-or-treating together (after she’d opened her presents, naturally; the other parents were quite happy to let Ross and Honey take over that chore).

But, I digress. The really, really good part of birthdays was the table at breakfast time. There was always a huge mountain of birthday (Dudley Dursley, yours was nothing compared to the McDonalds’) presents piled in front of their place. And a good part of the presents on the table on October 16 were BOOKS!

Melody loves books, and even then she considered them to be friends. The worst punishment that could be inflicted on her would be to sit on her bed without a book to read.
It was also the worst punishment for her parents, because they never knew what other things Melody would dream up during those book-free hours. It was especially terrifying the year she had that chemistry set…

Melody had a growing set of The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West, the Nancy Drew books, The Hardy Boys and the Dana Girls. There was a special Christmas book that had been Honey’s (her mother) and several others of Honey’s childhood books, including the Bobbsey Twins and several books about girls living in foreign countries, like Yumi San of Japan. Her Gram gave her a book published in 1850 about Harold, the Last of the Saxon Kings, which she had won as a child in an essay competition.

One year Melody received three classics for her birthday, Gulliver’s travels; Alice in Wonderland; and The Jungle Book. They were wonderful, but Melody had one book that she loved with all her heart: The Giant Golden Book of Natural History.

Unfortunately, an upheaval in the McDonald household caused the loss of all of the books Melody had received. New books began to pile up, including continuations of Nancy Drew and the Happy Hollisters. Melody still mourned the loss of her Giant Golden Book of Nature, but her Grandma Mary found something that brought a certain amount of relief: the Life-Time Natural History series. Those books brightened Melody’s spirits, with a new book every morning.

By the time Melody reached high school, she discovered the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Her rummaging brought to light a 1918 copy of Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar and an 1892 English version of Pinocchio, as well as a brand new version of Peter Pan without a publishing date. She also bought the entire James Bond series in paperback version. And can we EVER forget the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, bought at the Tic Toc store around the corner?
A couple of those books are in Italy, but the others? Who knows?
Melody now has a huge bookshelf stacked with books; she also has a floor and chairs stacked with books... A tee-shirt she likes to wear says it all: So many books to read, and so little time.

Do you have a favorite book or series of books? Do you still have any that thrilled you as a child?




Copyright © April 2, 2016 by Mary Purpari. All Rights Reserved