Day 10 – Your favorite classic book
The summer before I started High School (which back when dust was formed meant 9th grade), I broke my ankle early on and found myself “stuck” for the summer. No swimming, no biking, no this or that. Just me, my big cast (12 weeks!) and walking (not very far) with crutches for 8 weeks. I read every allowable book on my parent’s bookshelf. I learned to play dozens of different Solitaire games. I sighed a lot. Mom didn’t drive at the time, so even going to the library wasn’t an option. I was bored beyond belief. My mom insisted I sit outside. So I sat outside and was bored, bored, bored – and it was only the middle of June! Suddenly mom brought me out a glass of iced tea and their volume of the Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
I remember curling up my nose, and mom saying something about it would keep me occupied for the rest of the summer. I let the book sit there and played solitaire, sighed, and drank my tea. Then curiosity got the better of me and I opened the book. This was one of those huge coffee table books, with a rich, dark blue cloth binding, gold lettering, and the inside was printed in a slightly archaic typeface. It weighed a ton, but I had the picnic table to sit at and read, and read I did–cover to cover. The summer was transformed to total magic in my mind. I would close my eyes and picture the characters, the setting (it helped this 13/14 year old that there were pictures in the book). I used my colored pencils and paper and drew costumes for the characters. I had a total blast.
When I reached English Lit. my sophomore year, our teacher said we would read a play by William Shakespeare and most kids groaned. I beamed. I loved that portion of English class and, of course, I aced the test and essay portion–which caused the teacher to call my mother and tell her she suspected I was cheating. Bless my mom, she gave the woman an earful and then some.
I still love Shakespeare, and always find magic in his words, and though I’ve never again sat down and read his complete works cover to cover, I have the memories of a summer when the world of murder, mayhem, intrigue, love, friendship, humor, history and romance filled my life.
My favorite “piece” of Shakespeare still remains:
“Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date”.