Love does

In 2006, I dropped out of life.

For months, I retreated into our family’s story to care for my sixty-seven-year-old dad, a post-bone marrow transplant cancer patient. The church we attended at the time was big, but we were small—a family of five among a multitude of others. We didn’t know too many people, I reasoned, so we probably wouldn’t be missed. But through a friend outside the church, word of what our family was doing leaked to the congregation.

And the church ladies came.

One by one over many weeks, those ladies drove to our house and climbed our front steps to drop off tuna noodle casserole, fried chicken, tater tot hotdish, burritos, rice dishes, salads, cakes, brownies, garlic bread, and more. Twenty-six meals in all.

And each bite tasted like love.

Sometimes the ladies called first to let us know they were on their way. Sometimes they knocked on our door to signal their deliveries. Sometimes they deposited their edible gifts—without a word—into the designated cooler on our porch and tiptoed away.

No one left her name. No one paused for a thank you. And no one expected anything of us, strangers to them, caring for our immunosuppressed loved one.

Even though our three girls were tiny and Dad’s care was intense, we didn’t need the meals, I told myself. Those meals should be for those struggling more than we were. Feeling undeserving, I phoned the warm meal ministry coordinator to thank her.

“God must think you really need it,” she said. “The response has been overwhelming.”

No sound made it past the lump in my throat. Instead, I nodded into the receiver, absorbing all of their love through the phone lines.

 

Because our culture says to, I think of romantic love each Valentine’s Day. But only for a few seconds. Then I remember those ladies who delivered casseroles instead of counsel, salads instead of sermons, and homemade desserts instead of stories of their own pain.

Love. It’s everything, which goes without saying. But what I learned from those church ladies was that love does without saying too.

 

… let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

cheese-casserole-283271_640.jpg

*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

Hey there, reader!

Hey there, reader!

You’re out there somewhere on the other side of my screen. You live all over the world, I see. Whether I know you or we haven’t met yet, you make me smile.

I write for you—and me—to make sense of life, the neighborhood, and the world. We’ve been through a lot together over these past four and a half years, but I do most of the talking.

I’m brainstorming blog topics today, but can we do it together instead? It’s more fun that way. Grab your coffee or tea, and let’s chat.

What have you enjoyed most about my blog? What would you like to read (or read more of) in future posts?

Here are some new and/or used topics:

1.      Neighborhood stories

2.      Family service to the neighborhood and beyond

3.      Childhood stories

4.      Spiritual topics or faith-based perspectives on issues (examples: fasting, prayer, mercy, forgiveness, depression, disappointment, injustice, anxiety, anger, death, etc.)

5.      Travel stories (example: coverage of our family’s upcoming California road trip, summer of 2019)

6.      Healthy living, eating, and recipes (just kidding about the recipes! I’m not that person.)

7.      Business, movie, or book reviews

8.      Humorous stories

9.      Marriage and/or raising kids (I’m no expert, but I’ve been at it a long time.)

10.   My hobbies/jobs (grant writing, creative writing, modeling, hosting kids in crisis, donating plasma, thirty years of diary writing, etc.)

It’s your turn now. Readers, click here to send me a message. Subscribers, simply hit reply to this email.

I can’t wait to hear from you!

Tamara

No, this is no one we know. (Thank you, Pixabay stock photos!)

No, this is no one we know. (Thank you, Pixabay stock photos!)

 *Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

 

Blizzard, 1984

Happy Polar Vortex 2019!

If you’re in the cold’s path, reader, stay safe. Protect yourself; you’ll want those fingers and toes when the world thaws.

Let’s look back together to a blizzard long, long ago. Enjoy the following story I wrote (first published on December 31, 2015):

The February wind sliced through our coats as we hustled into the mall in Fargo, North Dakota. 1984 had rushed in with punishing sub-zero temperatures, and the packed snow squeaked like Styrofoam under our feet. My nervousness from the MMTA (Minnesota Music Teachers Association) district piano contests had eased off an hour earlier. In front of the judges, my memory had led my fingers through the motions, but my nerves quashed any passion I could have layered into the song. And so it came out bland but mostly accurate. Oh well. Done for another year. And now was the time for shopping. What more could a thirteen-year-old girl want?

My sisters—nine-year-old Olive and six-year-old Flo—and I milled around to my favorite stores: Lerner, Claire’s Boutique, Stevensons, Vanity, Contempo. As we walked, I tossed a furtive glance at Spencer’s Gifts; I could never go there because Mom thought the place was raunchy—especially the posters and other items in the back of the store. We passed by, and she zipped in to B. Dalton to browse through some books. Later, Flo tugged her sleeve as we neared the Orange Julius. Mom pulled out some cash, and while we slurped the creamy goodness through straws, we looked out the mall’s glass doors at the end of the corridor.

“The snow’s really coming down.” Mom shook her head, wide-eyed. “I should call Dad and see what he knows about the roads.”

She rummaged through her purse for change and then made a beeline for the pay phones. Olive, Flo, and I listened while she discussed the weather with Dad. Terms like black ice and whiteout peppered her end of the conversation. After some minutes, she hung up, and the pay phone gulped down her coins.

“Dad thinks it might clear up if we wait a little longer before heading home.” But Mom’s mouth was a straight line, her brow furrowed.

As we continued to roam from store to store, a voice boomed out an announcement over the mall’s loudspeakers:

“This is the West Acres Mall Management. We are closing the mall due to dangerous weather conditions. For safety reasons, everyone must remain inside. We will keep our restaurants open to serve you, and for those with diabetes or other medical conditions, Walgreens will help you with insulin or other medications. Thank you.”

We girls tittered with excitement. For a 1980s teenager like me, being locked into a shopping mall was like Brer Rabbit being thrown into a briar patch.

“I guess I won’t be driving home on glare ice after all.” Mom’s face softened. “I’ll call and tell Dad the news.”

In the evening, employees tugged their store grates shut, locking them for the night. But one store rigged up a TV and VCR and played Black Stallion for the captive masses.

Finally, it was time to sleep. We curled up on a small carpeted area on the floor in front of Foxmoor. Our stocking caps stuffed with scarves served as pillows, our coats as blankets.

The thrill of the adventure staved off the chill of the hard floor. But we awakened early the next morning anyway, along with the other confined shoppers who were rousing in storefronts near ours. The voice on the loudspeaker invited us to breakfast at a restaurant which fed us the only sustenance it had left: pancakes and water.

At last, the mall management unlocked the doors, and we were free to leave. The morning air stung our faces as we trudged through the drifted parking lot. Our car’s engine sputtered to life, and the stiff seats under us warmed. But the sight of vehicles stuck in the lot and strewn about in ditches and on roadways jarred us as we rolled out of town.

At home later that evening, we watched the news and learned that after that storm on February 4, 1984, authorities found Fargo’s 19th Avenue full of cars—most of them covered in drifts. Drifts as high as speed limit signs. And just outside West Acres Mall—where we had taken shelter—a number of people had lost their lives.

All these years later, I think of our story and shiver. Shopping malls: saving teenage girls from social embarrassment since forever. Who knew they could save lives too?

*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

dane-deaner-272361-unsplash.jpg

Words for 2019

I know I’m on the cusp of something. Something good. So, my word for 2019 dropped into my mind as naturally as a memory.

EXPECTANCY.

I shared it with my girls. They nodded.

“It’s like anticipation, but without the anxiety,” Flicka said.

Yes.

In 2019, I won’t live in wishful thinking, but I’ll walk in EXPECTANCY. And I’ll keep you posted.

Last week, I asked you, my readers, what words you had chosen for yourselves for the new year. Here’s what you told me:

KINDNESS: Kindness is lacking in far too many people’s verbal and physical vocabularies. People need to be consistently taught, retaught, and reminded of its importance in the treatment of everyone.

Linda, Lake Stevens, Washington

*****

BREATHE. Anxiety, fear, worry... they all make me hold my breath. In the moment, I don't even realize it, but 'not breathing' has been with me since I was a kid. My past words- Release (I kept that one for several years) and Grace both came from a desire to let go and to live life with thoughtfulness and peace. With the same intention, this year, I will remember to breathe.

Trixie, Hudson, Wisconsin

*****

TRUTH: The truth in God’s word. I’ve spent WAY too much time being fearful. The only thing that changes fear is God’s truth instead of how I feel.

Sharon, Great Falls, Montana

*****

INVEST: In my health. In my wellness. In my family. In friendships. In my jewelry-making business. In my faith. In continuing my education. In building a career I love. In my essential oil team. In my communities. In my family’s future. In my home. In giving back. In getting my SPARKLE back... again (my 2018 word; I lost it again when my Dad died in June.)

In 2019, I will INVEST.

Sheila, Bloomington, Minnesota

*****

WELCOME is my word for 2019. Several years ago, I went back to work full time. I have focused my energies on being the best teacher I can be. I have allowed connections in the other parts of my life to weaken because of my lack of effort in maintaining them. I have also done little to expand my creative self. WELCOME will serve as a reminder to me to open myself to new experiences, people and opportunities. It will also remind me to invite all those I love and cherish to join me in the here and now and celebrate today.

Kristan, Golden Valley, Minnesota

dictionary-1149723_640.jpg

*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

 

What's your word?

I mulled over the Word as I blended the dough for the Sandbakkels, watered the Scotch pine, and brewed the Trader Joe’s gingerbread coffee. I dwelled on the Word as I wrapped the presents, waited my turn at the post office, and crooned along to the season’s music. I thought of the Word as I slipped into new high heels, snapped the festive photos, and held lit candles at two services.  

Christmas is over now, but I still contemplate the Word—the Word that became flesh.

But as the new year approaches, I think about other words too. I’ve already chosen my special one for 2019—a word to remember when my faith is flagging, my hope is sagging, my heart is dragging.

I’ll share it with you next week.

Do you choose a word each year too? A word that focuses, guides, and encourages you?

What’s your word for 2019?

Send me a message here with your word and why you chose it, and I’ll publish it in next week’s blog. (Subscribers, simply hit reply to this email.)

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.

dictionary-1619740_640.jpg

*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

 

The song

The Christmas tree glows in the fresh hours of the morning. Everyone else is still sleeping. It’s too early to turn on music for the house, so I plug headphones into my ears and scroll through a music app on my phone. It’s just the dog, me, and a blanket on the couch. Transcendence is a tap away. I click.

Through the headphones, the beloved song about a small village in a faraway land two thousand years ago soothes me.

O little town of Bethlehem, How still we see thee lie!

Nothing still about our part of town. Too recently in North Minneapolis, gang members crossed into their enemies’ territory to settle a score. The sounds of gunshots reverberated off houses four blocks from ours, and before it was over, five men were shot. Ambulances rushed the injured ones to North Memorial.

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by;

That night before sleep could steal me, I gazed at the dark ceiling of the bedroom, listening. No emergency vehicles screamed by our windows. Only distant sirens sliced the night.

I thought of that day’s shootings, but no emotion stirred me. In fact, I hadn’t even heard the news until a friend, ragged with worry, called to check on us. And then too, I felt nothing; no twinge of pain, no lurch in my heart, no tug of mercy—not like in the early days in our neighborhood when I was all feelings, desperate to do something.  

Why didn’t this kind of news affect me anymore? Because this was gang violence and to be expected? That’s what many people believed. Were they right?

Alone the next day, I sank to my knees on the living room rug—in that favorite spot of mine where eternal meets temporal—and I raised it up: Let me feel something again. Let me see what You see.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light:

Now this morning, with headphones on, I draw a deep breath and let it go. Maybe that ancient village wasn’t so unlike mine. The streets were dark there too, weren’t they?

Blurry faces tied up in gangs and drugs and violence in my mind now morph into clear ones—the faces of the ones I love. The faces of the young kids in the neighborhood who once played basketball on our driveway. The faces of the ones we opened our door to—and always will. The faces of the ones I worry have picked the thorny path, the ones who might have already chosen the way of death.

What if some of my loved ones in the neighborhood have witnessed hatred blast their friends or family members from this world? What if they’re survivors with PTSD because they’ve glimpsed hell and have to walk with it? Or what if they’ve made the violence and have to live with it?

But there’s a Light. An everlasting Light.

And even in the darkness it comes to pierce their hearts—and my own again.

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

This song of the season whisks me away now—and my fears with it—its message vaster than its lyrics. It reminds me we’re not from here, and it’s not where we’ll stay either. All of us were made for something higher than our fears, even higher than our hopes.

The song lifts us above the earth this Christmas season, so we feel again. And for a while, we fly free too. Together.

Glowing tree.jpg

*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

Rejoice

Rejoice with those who rejoice.

I’ve heard this twice now since Thanksgiving, and today a writer friend sends me an article about being grateful for what I don’t have (but others do), making this the third time the message has floated to me in one week. Be thankful for the good things that come to other people, the article says but in prettier words. Rejoice.

It’s a new facet for the gratitude journal; I could commit whole pages to thankfulness for what I don’t have but wish I did.

I mull it over with my coffee this morning and the same old thought patterns flicker like the lit candle next to me. How long will I wait for:

the thing I’ve bathed in prayer for over two decades?

the dream I offer up to the One who gave it to me in the first place?

the identity I think is for me, yet isn’t something I wear today?

But the Advent season, now upon us, is all about waiting—waiting for the One who hears petitions, the One who plants dreams, the One who is bigger and better than any version of us.

I’ll keep waiting. And I’ll rejoice in the not yet for me, but the right now for others while I’m at it.

jason-leung-479251-unsplash.jpg

*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

The gratitude journal

Negativity slithered through our front door this fall, bringing darkness with it. We didn’t see it coming, of course, because that’s how it works.

But one day in late October, the dreariness captured my attention. How long had it been this dusky inside the house? I could hardly see the truth anymore for all the shadows.

“Not this again,” I said to no one in particular.

But I wasn’t the only one letting negativity’s gloom into our living quarters. Other family members had opened the door for it too. And we all seemed to entertain it most during our mealtimes together, venting our frustrations and irritations until the light over the table was as dim as a Minnesota morning in the fall before going off daylight savings time.

We were justified in our complaints, though, weren’t we? We were only discussing what was happening, right? There wasn’t any harm in it, was there? Facts were facts. And we could all agree there were too many hoops for Flicka to hop through in college, too many unanswered questions about Ricka’s life post-high school, too many worries about volleyball club teams for Dicka, too many schedule changes for Husband at work, and too many demands layered into my own days.

While the discussions stimulated me at first, negativity soon sucked away my energy.

Finally, I was done with it. So I resurrected an ancient solution for me—and for the family.

Gratitude.

“Here’s what’s happening,” I said one night at dinner, plunking down an old spiral notebook and pen. “We’re going to start a gratitude journal. It’ll stay right here on the table. Add to it whenever you think of something.”

I acted as scribe that first time, pointing my pen at each family member in the circle, forcing answers out of the whole lot of them until each had said something—anything.

At first, our gratefulness was staid: friends, family, volleyball, the dog. But as the days went, it broke free: Life Cereal, Dad telling his own embarrassing stories to comfort us, Dicka’s quick metabolism, God’s concept of time and money, when that car didn’t crash into Ricka in Uptown, candles, ChapStick, Flicka’s fast-growing hair, bagels, snow tires, the sun…

The concept of gratitude has existed since darkness was separated from light, and a person documenting his or her thankfulness has been around for eons too. Even so, I shared my not-so-creative-but-fresh-to-me idea of a gratitude journal with some loved ones.

Several had already tapped into the power of putting it on paper.

“It’s a life changer,” my sister said.

“It’s a game changer,” my friend said.

“It changes everything,” my neighbor said.

Hmm. So much change.

A week later, Ricka entered the house from school, her cell phone in hand. She tapped on it. “Mom, I took notes today about things I’m thankful for. Wanna hear them?”

She rattled off her list to me, and I transcribed the items into the gratitude journal. Taking a closer look, I noticed others had been in our notebook too—others beyond our family—scratching down their own notes of gratefulness.

That night at dinner, the dining room table looked different. Something had changed. I could see the food better—and my family too.

Was it just me, or was it brighter in here?

 

*Question for you, reader: If you started a gratitude journal today, what things/people/etc. would make your top ten?

gratitude journal.jpg

 *Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

Even more of yesterday's books

Two weeks ago, I invited you, my readers, to share your favorite books from childhood. Here is the final installment of your reading memories:

*****

Before I could devour books on my own, the earliest stories I remember were read to me by my mother, so the pictures carried the story for me. I memorized the artwork in Bible stories and in stories like Heidi by Johanna Spyri. Even today, the mental picture of the young Heidi sleepwalking, wearing a long white nightgown, brings me back to the story—an orphan girl who when living in the city became homesick for her grandpa and the mountains. Looking back now, I think this story probably gripped me because of the conflicts of the memorable characters, so unlike my own life as a preschooler.

Avis, Newfolden, Minnesota

*****

The earliest ones I can remember - from when I was three or so, and some of which I still have in the attic! - were Cyril the Squirrel, Miss Sniff, and a wonderful Cinderella. But I think one of the books which impressed me when I was about thirteen was The Diary of Anne Frank. I can actually see myself in my room reading this book and being so moved. As I teacher I also recommended books like Number the Stars and another favorite, The Devil’s Arithmetic, as important books about the Holocaust. I remember one my mother remembered from HER childhood, The Little Minister. And one of my all-time favorites - still, to this day - Alice in Wonderland! It is brilliant!

Sandy, Lacombe, Louisiana

*****

Nancy Drew mysteries! I think I read them all. An avid reader, I also snuck books from my mama’s bookcase. I read Jaws and The Exorcist when I was just 11 years old. Yeah, that was not my best idea. Be careful, Little Eyes, what you see…

Shelby, Crystal, Minnesota

*****

I suppose Nuclear Weapons and Foreign Policy by Henry Kissinger just cements my place in the warped corral. But I did read it when I was 10 years old. I went on to read Chemical and Biological Warfare by Seymour Hersh in 9th grade. The teacher wouldn’t take it as my book review until he quizzed me on the thing. I used to drive the librarians crazy at the bookmobile: I’d read every book and started on the college level stuff when I was in grade school. Thus, the me you get today.

Joe, Saint Paul, Minnesota

*****

I loved the book Snow Treasure written by Marie McSwiggen. The story was about Norwegian children who hid bars of gold on their sleds and took them down the mountain to the harbor to smuggle them out of the country right under the noses of Nazi soldiers. My parents and I all read the Little House books that I brought home from my elementary school library. In high school I worked at the public library which was a very uncool job, but it exposed me to many wonderful books.

Kathy, Maple Grove, Minnesota

*****

I liked the Maud Hart Lovelace books, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and then I started reading trashy romance novels my aunts left at my grandparents’ house. I was a little young to be reading them for sure.

Micara, New Market, Minnesota

*****

Any book about a horse! Walter Farley’s “The Black Stallion” series, the C.W. Anderson “Billy and Blaze” series, anything by Marguerite Henry and Sam Savitt (beautiful illustrator too!), and pretty much every other book on the subject I could get my hands on.

I grew up in a small town, and your prompt brought back warm memories of the excitement that I felt when the bookmobile would come to town. I would hope and wish and pray that there would be a new horse book for me to check out!

Gina, Rochester, Minnesota

*****

annie-spratt-475541-unsplash.jpg

*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

More of yesterday's books

Last week, I asked you about your favorite books from childhood. Many of you responded, so we’ll enjoy two weeks of trips to the past together. Here are this week’s memories:

Nancy Drew.jpg

I don’t know if this counts as my favorite ‘book’ but I was obsessed with any and all things Nancy Drew.  I read every single hard cover published (sometimes twice) until they went to paperback. I loved the mysteries that involved her boyfriend (Ned) and her best girlfriends (Bess and George). She was the daughter of a busy single dad which I thought was cool at the time because she had a lot of ‘freedom’ to investigate all these mysteries.  Nancy had two major impacts on my life: 1) once I was able to learn to drive I didn’t know where I was going because I had my face in a book every time we got into the car and 2) Nancy, in partnership with Clarice Starling, was influential in my choice of my Criminal Justice college major.

Karyn, Mounds View, Minnesota

*****

Charlotte's Web: Simple but profound thoughts for everyday life as well as a glimpse into deeper more spiritual realms of our existence: “Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.” “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That in itself is a tremendous thing.”; “I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.” I remember those quotes standing out to me even as a child. I'm quite sure I didn't I understand what it meant on a conscious level but I can say now that I'm sure it met and very possibly exposed my child's desire for love and friendship and a more peaceful world during that time in life. Ironically, it also sends the message that oftentimes there is a cost to it as well.

Peter, Maple Grove, Minnesota

*****

The Boxcar Children! I remember thinking they were living an exciting and adventurous life. I was extremely disappointed several years later to see the inside of a boxcar!

Sharon, Great Falls, Montana

*****

I loved all things Roald Dahl...especially his "Revolting Rhymes" which was given to me as a Christmas gift by my older (and therefore cooler) cousins in North Dakota, who really got my sardonic 9 year-old sense of humor. I spent hours in my bedroom memorizing his irreverent version of "Cinderella", and would perform it on command for anyone who'd get suckered into listening. I think I also performed in for a 4-H talent show. I'm pretty sure I can still recite it from start to finish... (Enjoy Roald Dahl’s “Cinderella” here.)

Carissa, Robbinsdale, Minnesota

*****

Readers Digest’s The World’s Best Fairy Tales from 1967. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Billy Beg and His Bull, Rumpelstiltskin, The Musicians of Bremen, Blue Beard, and The Princess on the Glass Hill were some of my favorites. Also, Louis L’amour, Jack London, and Mark Twain.

Scott, Minneapolis, Minnesota

*****

*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.

Yesterday's books

“Reading never wears me out.” Olivia, by Ian Falconer

What book from childhood did you like best? And why?

Write me a note about your favorite book from when you were a kid (photos welcome too) and send it here. Subscribers, simply hit reply to this email. I will publish your reading memories (along with your first name and location) in next week’s blog installment.

I’ll get us started…

I dragged my finger along the tattered bindings of Maj Lindman’s books. Inside their pages frolicked triplet girls from another time and place. I tagged along with them on their adventures—with a little dog, a new friend, their new dotted dresses, the girl next door, and the three kittens. Their mother always wore high heels in the house. And did she really cook for them all day long? Was that what life was like in Sweden even before my own mother was alive? The girls’ names—Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka—plucked at something inside me. How fun to say! Maybe one day I’d have triplets of my own.

Now it’s your turn.

And until next time… “But the wild things cried, ‘Oh please don’t go—we’ll eat you up—we love you so!’” Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

Flicka and sisters 2.jpg
Flicka and sisters.jpg

*Miss an installment of the blog? Or want to catch the story from the beginning? Visit http://www.tamarajorell.com/blog-entries-by-date

*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.