Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bobby socks and black patent leather shoes

Property of Lala.

These were the words written in careful handwriting with blue ball point pen on the back of my books' front cover.  From Filipino folk tales to fairies with happily ever afters to stories of flowing long hair from a girl in a tower, I loved them all. 

I also read Lucky Me instant noodles packaging.  Instruction manuals for appliances.  Song books from church.  The Bible (note: past tense). 

I read the labels on my clothes, dictionaries, old calendars, letters, diaries.  Bus tickets, afternoon snacks, chocolate bars, carinderia menus, maps, and postcards.

I even read the phone book.

Then I was introduced to this thing called a library.

Discovering this gigantic room with walls of hardcovers and leather bounds was like finding out the world wasn't flat.  Cue music, clouds, and bright lights.  Throw in a hallelujah and self-opening golden gates for the little girl in her blue and white uniform with bobby socks and black patent leather shoes.  When they told me I could take the books home, I swear I heard angels sing. 

My bag was always filled with so much books, I could barely carry it home.  I read so much that I was forbidden to have the light on at night, for fear that I would read instead of sleep.  They desperately wanted me to sleep so I would grow taller.  Lucky for me, they'd forgotten all about flashlights underneath blankets and the street lamppost outside the bedroom window.  I would have screaming fights with my father, the engineer and mathematician, because he did not want me to tire my eyes before I even hit my teens.  Silly papa, he should've known that it was genetics that sealed my fate with eyeglasses, not my hunger for books.

Still, they continue to send me books with dolls that looked nothing like me, encyclopedias along with pink haired ponies.  Those books, they were my childhood, my connection to my parents when they were overseas, more than toys and trinkets.  I quoted scenes, poems, songs in my letters to them.  The world then was made out of adjectives and lyrics and I wanted them to have that world in their hands too, whatever continent they were at.

Today, I still read labels and instruction manuals and noodle packaging but I no longer read the Bible.  Maps and postcards remain on the table.  Blogs on food and yoga in bed, text messages and emails, quotes and tweets, cookbooks and recipes.  Birthday and mother's day cards no longer have poems and lyrics from little girls, but the stamps are still licked, envelopes sealed, and promptly mailed.

Tomorrow and some more after that, I must read pages and pages of scripts to be memorized.  I no longer need flashlights under the blanket, though sometimes, I am tempted to do it for old time's sake. 

Perhaps a pair of bobby socks and black patent leather shoes, too.


Yolk E said...

Very nice...
I was definitely a reader, too. Fortunately, my parents weren't quite as vigilant, so I didn't usually have to resort to the flashlight to read Little House on the Prarie ;-)

Thank goodness for tiny black squiggles on a light-colored background.

Lala said...

...and thank goodness for smartphones (but i still prefer real books, of course).

hahaha! i literally would get yelled at by my dad. so funny to think back to it lol.

Anonymous said...