Life is serious. Think about it for a moment. All kinds of childhood wonders and accomplishments evaporate when we have to be serious and responsible adults. So, I’ve been thinking. What if you looked at life the same way you did when you were a little girl? Okay, what if I tried to see my everyday life like a 9-year-old sees hers? Roller skating, jumping rope, and the occasional trip to the local pool were the best activities a girl could participate in. Yes, I have decided that nine is divine!
Have I decided to live my life like I did when I was in fourth grade? I remember that I loved math. He was good at math. When other kids sweated on the multiplication tables, I was cold as a cucumber. Yeah, just give me 7 by 8 and I’ll blow your mind. My brain was kicking. The spelling was also very straightforward. Reading was the best. What could be better than immersing myself in a good book?
The teachers at my school always said things like “you can go anywhere in the world when you read a book.” I didn’t much care for stories that were too long and too descriptive, I preferred the kind of stories that I could relate to and finish in an hour or two. Certain authors like Beverly Cleary had the gift of introducing me to the lives of their characters who lived on Klickitat Street. She gave life to Ramona Quimby, Beezuz, Henry and Ribsy the dog. I lived those stories. I knew those characters. When I read Cleary’s books, I wasn’t afraid of getting stuck in a book that I didn’t like or couldn’t follow.
But of course my absolute favorite author was Dr. Seuss. His real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, but he was also the author of many easy readers with the pseudonyms Theo LeSieg and Theodor Geisel. Those books were long enough to hold my attention and short enough that I was satisfied when I finished. A Seuss story was a glass of cool lemonade on a hot summer afternoon. Oh yeah! Another imaginative and exceptional tale. Take, for example, The Sneetches. What is a Sneetch anyway? I learned about the judgmental nonsense of a nonsensical tale of fictional creatures whose snobbery led them to fall prey to an unscrupulous carpet packer. The vivid illustrations ignited a spark of imagination in my anxious little mind that the real world couldn’t compete with. Characters like Horton, with tireless integrity, hatched the egg or Bartholomew and his 500 hats, or the stubborn Zax made me turn pages. What fun to hear about a Lorax talking through the trees or a borfin gliding through the night? The cats in hats, the bee watchers, and the blue fish kept me reading, wondering where the thread might go next. Who can forget the Grinch? His magnanimous change of mind brought hope to generations of children and helped us maintain perspective on what is most precious in our lives.
My teachers never explained what a whimsical fad was to me, but Dr. Seuss did. And he was a doctor! Or so I thought. You wouldn’t tell us about places and adventures that were a waste of time, would you? NO, the good doctor painted the most vibrant and stimulating canvases for us to absorb. Seuss was noted for saying “Nonsense wakes up brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is tremendously important in this age.” He said those words a lifetime ago, and yet to this day, I can’t read a God-made Seuss story without smiling and laughing like a nine-year-old.