Sunday, January 20, 2013

THE MAGIC JAR, by "Bookworm" from Wisconsin, 1926

There is a round, blue jar on our bookcase at home. Once or twice a month I pour the accumulated contents into my hand and count, "50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, 82 cents." Then I grin with satisfaction. That will be enough to buy A Lantern in Her Hand (a good book by the way, by Bess Streeter Aldrich) or some other coveted book which I've been wanting for months.

On my shelves are Rolvaag's Giants in the Earth, a complete Shakespeare, Alcott's Little Women and Little Men. Hardy's Tess of the D'Urbervilles and a volume of modern American poetry, all the result of accumulated pennies.

Pennies may be few, but eventually if each one is saved there will be enough to buy a good book or magazine. We have our own library, and though it is small the books are of such a nature that they can be read and re-read with enjoyment.

There are those who think that farm women who spend time reading are lazy and "highbrow." Besides, of what use are storybooks to women who work in the fields and come home to milk cows? All the more reason, I say, why a farm woman should escape for a few minutes into a make-believe world where her spirit may be eased.

"And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Storybooks."


Kathy said...

I received several volumes of Bess Streeter Aldrich this past Christmas to add to my collection of women's literature. Far from being lazy, I think farm wives were often deep thinkers who cherished positive values and worked to support good character in themselves and their children.

Laurie Aaron Hird said...

What a great present! When you get a chance to read them, please tell me your favorites. One of mine is "Mother Mason." I still laugh when I think about that book, and its been ten years or so since I have read it!