On Frank McCourt.
I really hated having to tell her that he passed away last year. She wanted to write and tell him how much she loved the books. She was wandering around complaining of having nothing to read awhile back when I thought of Angela's Ashes and presented it to her. She devoured it and then put in a request at the library for Tis' and waited impatiently for 2 weeks till it came from another branch.
The copy of Angela's Ashes I gave her was my mothers. The funny thing is, she had a crush on Frank McCourt too. I remember when the book was first published and my mother read it and couldn't wait for me to read it so that we could discuss it. I adored the book also but fell short of falling in love with the author. My mother was way ahead of me and had the internet before we did. She was on the AARP chat room with her online friends and having long talks about the book with the same excitement as teenagers talking about their favorite band.
What did a (at the time she first read it) 69 year old woman and a now 16 year old girl have in common to cause this similar reaction. Kindred Spirits in almost every way. They both even tried Malachy McCourts books but found them wanting. My mother always remarked that Middlest acted like her as a girl and as I mentioned in my previous post, even after she wasn't clear on who she was, still carried this affinity for my middle child.
The sharing of books is something I missed very much when my mother stopped reading. As Middlest gets older I revel in sharing my favorites with her. And even more so, sharing the books that my mother passed on to me. I recognize, in my feeling when I think of one to share, the memory of the tone of my mothers voice and her smile when she gave me a book and later asked what I thought. The words, "How far are you?" "Did you finish it yet?", What did you think of......?"
The Secret Garden, Little Women, The Diary of Anne Frank, The Good Earth.
And authors like, Poe, Tolstoy, Willa Cather, and our modern favorites; Maya Angelou, Garrison Keillor, Fannie Flagg, Anne Tyler and Lee Smith among many more. These are the most beloved gifts my mother gave me. As she grows I am sharing these and others with Middlest.
Most of all, A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. How my mother loved that book. My mom could identify with Francie on many levels. She lived in Brooklyn as a girl. She was the oldest with a younger brother and sister, part of her heritage was Irish. And her father was an amiable, story telling, singing alcoholic, who could not always provide well for their family. She was bursting with excitement that Christmas as I opened my surprise book gift. My parents usually gave the gifts I asked for but every year my Mom secretly chose books to share with me. She couldn't wait for me to read it. Once I started I never wanted to put it down.
Middlest is my reader. When she was in middle school she was complainig she had nothing to read. And I remembered the worn, torn dog eared book on my shelf. I could hardly contain my excitement as I held it out,"Here, read this." And once Middlest started, she never put it down. Then I started, " How far are you?" "Did you finish it yet?" What did you think of...?"
It is our treasured legacy. Three Francie's who could easily sit forever and read every book in the library. Who will read our beloved favorite, over and over again. I had to buy us a new copy.
Middlest has abducted Angela's Ashes and is holding it in her room. I am going to leave it there. I can hear her voice, I love him and echoing in it my mother...I love him. I love this book. I love this book. I don't want it to end.
I think my mother has spoken. The book stays on Middlest shelf and when it is worn and tattered, along with Francie.
I hope she will pass it on.
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