This week on the Open Book Blog Hop we’re talking about our first memories of books or reading.

My first memories are of my mother reading Rupert Bear stories to me.  There was one particular story where Rupert had acquired magic boots, and could fly.  I remember this story enthralled me and I wanted her to read it over and over again.  It must have driven her mad.

Mum also taught me to read before I went to school, and helped me with spelling and writing.  She is articulate and often enjoyed writing letters and articles for newspapers and magazines.  She passed on a love of words and reading to me, and by the time I was 8 or 9 I was spending all my pocket money on books and comics, walking to Segal’s Bookshop along the East India Dock  Road in the faint hope that a new Enid Blyton book had appeared overnight.  My favourite series of her books were the ones with Philip, Dinah, Jack, Lucy-Ann, and Kiki the parrot.  I loved the smell of the bookshop, and was grieved beyond measure when it  closed down.  Part of my childhood went with it.

Once a week I would also walk with Dad to our local library, a little bit further away across what is now the busy approach to the Blackwall Tunnel.  It was a quiet place to sit and enjoy books, not the hive of noisy activity that modern libraries are now.  I would come away with as many Nancy Drew mysteries as I was allowed to take, and tried to hide ones I wanted to read the following week in another part of the library so that nobody else could find them!

A fond memory of childhood is sitting on my front doorstep with a book or comic, and eating chocolate buttons at the same time (I still sit on my step and read now, but eschew the chocolate!). When I had collected a pile of comics I would make a shop in the front garden and try to sell them, but often had to call Mum out as I couldn’t work out the correct amount of change to give the customers.  Thankfully Mum, who is as numerically illiterate as I am, had mastered this tricky undertaking.

Happy times, all gone now, but I still have the memories.

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