It was a sticky, sultry day in August. I was hot and bored. I was four.

We didn’t have air conditioning in our split level house in Pennside, but it was too oppressive to be outside. I wandered around from room to room, fanning myself and eliciting a sigh now and then just to be dramatic. Mom was in the kitchen cooking and wouldn’t pay attention to me. I searched out the coolest room in the house — the laundry room — and lay down on the cool linoleum floor. I pondered the  meaning of life as droplets of perspiration trickled down my neck. Suddenly, inspiration hit. I found a piece of paper and a green crayon and got to work.

Books is wonderful

“Mom!” I yelled. “How do you spell ‘books’?”

“B-O-O-K-S” she called down to me as the hum of the Kitchen-aid mixer muffled her words.

“How do you spell ‘is’?”

She spelled it out for me.

“And how do you spell ‘wonderful’?”


Done with my work, I bounded up the steps to share it with her. In her proud mom way, she praised me and told me how much she loved it. I like to think that she couldn’t wait to show Dad my masterpiece. And she really must have loved it: she sent it to a company that laminated it on this wooden box, which sits in my home today.

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