a world where magic happened

Little House
The book that begins the series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, with its wonderful illustrations by Garth Williams.

I have been blessed (or cursed) with a vivid imagination, and as a child my thoughts often took me to the world of the books I was reading — most often, the Little House books, of which I had a complete set, in hardback. Good thing, too, because I read and re-read those books so many times any paperback would have fallen apart, been replaced, and fallen apart again…and again.

So when I was eight and saw a pattern for a dress from roughly that era (how would I know a one or two decade difference?), I was thrilled. My mom made all my clothes, so I didn’t question her ability to make me that dress. Technically, it was my Halloween costume that year, but in reality it became my passport to a bygone era. I’d come home from school, put it on and sit alone imagining what my day would have been like 100 years before.

Yep, that's me, age 8, at a Halloween costume contest at school. No, I didn't win.
Yep, that’s me, age 8, at a Halloween costume contest at school in the dress and bonnet my mom made. No, I didn’t win.

I never really outgrew those books. If I still had them, I’d read them today. However, eventually the books that would steal me away into a different world became the Nancy Drew mysteries. At first I imagined I was Bess, the slightly overweight, somewhat shy (imagine that) comrade, then I insinuated myself as myself into my own mysteries, still with Nancy as the one in charge, the rest of us following her lead.

Eventually I moved beyond those imaginative worlds, and while I suppose psychologically that’s probably a good thing, there’s a part of me that misses that creativity. Was I really trying to escape my own world, or was I just an inventive child who needed an outlet for her dreams and fanciful thinking? Sometimes I fear we take away an important part of childhood from those who need to let their minds run free.

So Laura, Mary, Nancy, George and Bess, you’re welcome anytime.

Just for the record, this is not a picture of my collection. If it were, they'd be in order.
Just for the record, this is not a picture of my collection. If it were, they’d be in order. But I appreciate that this picture is available!

Photo Credit, Nancy Drew books: © Celeste Lindell — some rights reserved

11 Replies to “a world where magic happened”

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