In our house, we write in books. Instead of giving cards, I decided before my kids were even born, I would write birthday wishes and Valentine love, and Christmas cheer in books.
This idea came as a new teacher. I was anxious to fill my classroom library, drawing on every resource I could think of. I went to library book sales, used book stores, gobbled up any unwanted books laying in “up for grabs” piles throughout the school. I also pulled from my own personal childhood library, revisiting books I had devoured as an elementary school student myself, ready to share them with my own students.
It was in this collection of childhood books that the gift of books was born. I came across a yellowed copy of a Ramona title and something told me to open it, flip through the pages. Kid handwriting was sprawled across the inside cover. Not mine. This handwriting belonged to my childhood best friend. The one I used to play school with. We both dreamed of becoming teachers and had transformed our basements into classrooms filled with old textbooks discarded from school and extra dittos given out by teachers at the end of the school year. Her teaching career ended in that basement, a life gone too soon. It was up to me to fulfill that dream for both of us now.
I took that book home. It never became part of my classroom library. It’s in a box of memories I keep in my basement. Whenever I see it, I’m drawn to the handwritten message and my fingers trace the memories and the dreams.