Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Guest Blog: Marie Spencer

Born in North Dakota, as the pioneers were dying off; reared in Iowa, where progress gobbled up farms and education was venerated. Dropped out of college and moved to North Carolina, where I found true love, real life, finished college and grad school, and became the librarian I was always meant to be. Now living in Kentucky, about which I read incessantly when I was growing up in Iowa, and loving it. Avid reader; appreciator of people, film, music, the glories of nature and the role of religion in life. Oh, I should also say my daughter calls me Pollyanna.

Thoughts on Books:
I had a story-telling grandmother, who was an avid reader and who encouraged my mom to read to her children. Living with our grandparents for some time, I benefitted from young uncles who enjoyed sharing the comics with us. The Katzenjammer Kids had us all rolling on the floor and Popeye the Sailor Man actually got us to eat (very unwillingly) spinach. All of us piled around Mom and quietly listened as she read nursery rhymes, fairy tales, legends and poems from the 1953 edition of Childcraft, the best Christmas gift she ever gave us. Despite all this enrichment, I didn't actually begin to read until 1st grade, but once started, I could not stop! I adored phonics lessons: “B says buh, buh, buh”. We were not supposed to take our reading primers home, but I could not leave Dick, Jane and Sally in my desk overnight. I took them home, reading as I walked and finishing the book before bedtime.

As soon as I understood how words were formed, I began reading the newspaper on my own. What power! And, to my mom's delight, I enjoyed reading the comics and Uncle Wiggily installments to my little brothers and sisters. She was able to cook supper in next to no time, with the youngsters gathered around the table, reading. On the flip side, I read things I didn’t understand and that made her very nervous. “What does r-a-p-e mean, Mommy?” I asked after reading a Dear Abby column. I can still see her biting her lip and mulling over how to explain it to 7 year old me.

I asked Marie to answer a few questions so we could get to know a little more about her:

Favorite Book? Pippi Longstocking -- the bravest girl in the world, who opened my eyes to what I could do and be

Favorite Author? Dr. Seuss; Pauli Murray; Kathleen Norris (1947-); Thor Heyerdahl

Describe yourself using only three words. Open-minded; Affectionate; Appreciative

You are on a deserted island, name one person and one book you would take with you.
Mother Teresa
How Does a Poem Mean? ed. by John Ciardi -- thousands of words to celebrate

Favorite tv show? Soap

Favorite food? Bread

Anything you haven’t done in your life that you want to do? Travel to the moon; Skydive; Visit New York City

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