Summer is…

In an effort to recommit myself to Girls Gone Oscar Wilde (sorry, Liesl and Liz), I’m catching up on posting some old stuff. School started again, though, so I can’t guarantee this will be an improvement (sorry again, Liesl and Liz).

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Books were always a staple in the Poulson home and our house was filled with nearly every type. Books were stowed on shelves and in closets; they were stacked into makeshift end tables in an attempt to save space. They were neatly tucked in baskets placed in nearly every room.

My mother was determined to make readers out of her four children. Frequently she would declare “Reading Dinner,” perfect for a family of introverts, and each of us would bring a book to read to ourselves while we ate together at the table. Every Christmas and every birthday was sure to bring at least two or three new things to read. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are of me and my siblings cuddled up on my parents 1980s waterbed, listening to my mom read a chapter or two from one of her favorite books.

Mom succeeded in raising four rather bookish children. We may have all had different interests and preferred different genres, but we all loved to read. We would even ask our mom to “ground” us, and we’d each snuggle up in our own armchair, turned to face the wall, book in hand, and stay there for hours. I never went to sleep at night until I read a few chapters from a Ramona Quimby book, knowing I shouldn’t stay up too late, but unable to put down the stories I already knew by heart.

But in summer, it was different. There wasn’t bedtime or homework or, even, friends to distract from our favorite activity. My memories of summer are filled with hours spent sitting on a warm patch of carpet, reading until the sunlight moved to another spot in the room; late nights passed reading a good novel start to finish, not turning my light off until 2 or 3 in the morning; afternoons laying on my back on the lawn, arms outstretched to hold my book at just the right angle to shade my face from the sun as I read. We were never a very active family, so while our friends waterskied and attended soccer camps and went on long camping excursions, we read. And read. And read and read and read.

For me, summer means sunshine and picnics and short-sleeves and mountains, but more than anything, it means books. It means time to put down my textbooks and pick up my mile-long reading list. It means waiting anxiously for my older siblings to finish the newest Harry Potter book so it would finally be my turn. It means daily trips to the library and summer reading programs and hours wandering around the neatly organized isles. To me, summer will always mean books.

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