The one room country school I attended had a long row of library shelves beneath the windows on one side of the school. Once a year, in the autumn, we would receive a shipment of new books, usually not more than a dozen and designed to satisfy readers from Grades One to Eight. It usually only took a week to work my way through them, not nearly enough to satisfy my cravings for reading material.
Other favourites that occupied those shelves of elementary school are King of the Wind—the story of the Arabian stallion Godolphin's Barb, Smoky the Cow Horse by Will James, Misty of Chincoteague—a story about wild ponies on a remote eastern island and of course the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley. You get the drift here. Most of my favourites were horse stories.
Then I was introduced to another genre that would become my permanent favourite. It began with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, but soon I was reading a variety of mysteries, from the Perry Mason stories by Erle Stanley Gardner to Agatha Christie.
In the late 40s and the 50s, books weren't as easily come by as today. The nearest library was miles away. There was no available supply of paperbacks and there was little money left over in the family budget to buy new hardcovers. This is where a wonderful program brought joy to rural families. It was called the University Extension Library and ran out of the University of Manitoba. Catalogues of books would arrive on a regular basis and through a mailed in form you could order up to six books at a time. Postage was paid both ways. I spent a lot of time in those years traipsing out to the mailbox, in anticipation of a book delivery. In addition to my mysteries and westerns, I fell in love with Lucy Maude Montgomery's stories of Anne, Emily, Pat of Silver Bush and The Story Girl.
It's so much easier to find new books now—an easily accessible library, used book stores, my Kobo and Kindle (I never could make decisions). but somehow, even the best books can't quite match the anticipation of waiting for the mail delivery of that precious parcel from the Extension Library.
What book takes you back to your childhood?