Saturday, July 16, 2011

Another Chapter Closes . . . Literally

Last night, Damon took me to the movies.  Usually I am excited about going but last night I was not sure I wanted to be there because it meant the end  . . . . saying goodbye to friends I have made over the past 12 plus years, but then I realized these are the friends I don't have to say goodbye to.  I have had many friends like this over the years and I always enjoy meeting back up with these friends on a road trip or just sitting around the house.  As I look back, each is a chapter of my life. Ones that I love to look back on and remember whenever I get the chance.

My first chapter - that I can remember - with friends like this was when I met Laura and her family in the big woods of Wisconsin.  I loved meeting up with them during quiet times and I loved, even more, seeing them come to life after school.  I remember rushing home to see which part of the stories I would get to see. (Sadly, some parts were altered when brought to life and I never understood how they could mess with a good thing already in place.) I laughed. I cried. I worried. I wondered what it was like for Mary not to be able to see and how Laura could be her eyes.  I loved going to the prairie and have revisited many times.  I also loved Ramona and all her quirky ways!!! I always wanted a little sister and thought one that was somewhat like Ramona would be a good one!!!  Briefly, she came to life for me and I just loved her even more!!  Now she has been brought BACK!!!!!

The next major chapter I remember was meeting a redhead from Canada.  Her name was Anne.  Oh how I would get wrapped up in her adventures all over Prince Edwards Island.  I could relate to her in so many ways and yet in so many other ways I could not.  However, I remember one summer spending the whole summer seeing her grow into a redhead who could not control her tongue to a mother of many.  I was so excited when I got to see Anne come alive and how I could (and have) watched her adventures again and again and again.  I remember thinking, "They finally got it right!" until I saw the last one which they MAJORLY butchered.  Yet, even though things aren't the same, it is my friend, Anne, and I feel drawn to her to see what is going on in her life.

As I added other chapters in my life, they began to fill with people I was told to meet and while I enjoyed meeting some of them, I missed those "kindred spirits."  Finally Jo and her sisters (as well as sweet Marmee) came into my life and, OH, what kindred spirits I found with these sisters. I related with each one as we laughed and cried, again, together. I could not get enough of them, so much that I have even been to their house!  What a visit that was!  Even though they were not there, I could see them as they went along their merry little ways.  I loved seeing Katherine bring Jo to life as well as Winona and sweet Beth brought to life (and then in death) by Margaret. Sadly, on my account, I have never read the following stories about Jo and her life, but plan to remedy that soon.

In these last few chapters of my life, friends like Elizabeth and Darcy have stolen a piece of my heart along with Emma and her friends.  I have wished on more than one occasion that I could get lost in Austen's world - for real!!!  When I began teaching, my students introduced me to some of my very best friends, Harry, Hermione and Ron.  I will admit I was not crazy about meeting these three, but, for the sake of my students, I began the introductions and slowly (but surely) we became friends.  When I had met them, they had already had their first 3 adventures.  I remember anxiously awaiting to hear how the fourth adventure panned out and before each new adventure would come out I would always go back and have them tell me about all the other adventures they had had up to that point.  I always learned something new and really took each adventure in like it was the first time I had heard it.  When they decided to bring the adventures to life, I would also go back and relive each adventure over and over.  I loved watching these 3 grow into wonderful young people and was not ready for it to end.

With each chapter that I have mentioned, I was never ready for it to end.  I always wanted more to see more of what happens to these people who have become friends - become part of my life.  I have to come to grips with the fact that all these chapters do end, but I can revisit them any time I want.  I can also introduce them to others - like my children.  Already LB and I have loved our time with Laura and her family as well as Ramona and her family.  I have briefly introduced her to Harry, Hermione and Ron and can't wait for her to meet Anne, Jo, Emma and Elizabeth.  Yes, even though our real time with them is done, I can always visit them spending as much time with them as I want.

For that, I am forever grateful to

the characters - for always being there.
(Please forgive me when I am away too long!)

the authors - for creating such real characters I can relate to and love
like real "bosom friends."

the books - for sitting so nicely on my shelves ready for me
whenever I am ready for you!

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends;

they are the most accessible 

and wisest of counsellors, 

and the most patient of teachers.

 - Charles W. Eliot (1834 - 1926)

The Happy Life, 1896

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