Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Little Bit of Magic

This wasn't the one I was looking for...
Did you ever have a book that you loved intensely, passionately, read it, like a hundred times, only to forget the title?  And the author, and pretty much everything else about the book. 

I know what you're thinking.  It can't have been that good of a book if you read it a hundred times and can't remember anything about it.  Either that or you're Googling the names of early onset Alzheimer specialists so you can send me a referral, but don't worry.  It was an amazing book and I'm almost positive I'm not having a Still Alice moment (if you haven't read Still Alice, you should.  It's terrifying but good). Here's what happened.

This book, my magic book, was one I read over and over again at the age of eight.  I know I was eight because that was the year Mrs. Rankin, my elementary school librarian, barred me from the older kid's book section on the grounds that some of the material was "inappropriate".  In lieu of checking out the racier Judy Blumes, I was stuck reading the same little kid's books over and over until I had them practically memorized, everything except for the title and author's name, of course. 

Fast forward thirty years and all I can remember is how much I loved one of those books.  It was something about little girls, witches and a porch.  If you Google little girls, witches and a porch, you get a lot of options but none of them were my magic book.  Then, yesterday, it came to me.  Wasn't there a bumble bee on the porch?  I think he might have been named Molokai.  Again, I Googled it and guess what I got?  Lots of stuff about Hawaii.  I changed the search terms a little bit and BINGO!  There was the book!!  My book, the one I'd loved, lost and looked for, for the last fifteen years!

Neither was this.

As if finding the book wasn't exciting enough, it was written by Eleanor Estes.  At the very moment, I was successfully searching for my long lost book, Child # 1 was upstairs in her bedroom reading "A Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes.  I was overcome by the perfect symmetry of it all.  

At that moment my husband came downstairs, peaked in my office and said, "Why are you crying?"

"Because I found it," I told him.  "And I was meant to find it, at this very moment when our daughter was reading a book by the same author.  It's one of those perfect circles of life."

"Huh," he said.  "Do you want some ice cream?" 

Okay, so he's not buying into my perfect circles of life theory but maybe you will.  If I read the above scene in a book I wouldn't belive it.  I'd think it was too unlikely, too pat or maybe too much of a leap.  But now, as the days begin to get shorter and Halloween approaches, it's a good reminder.  Every now and then magic does happen.  You just have to be on the lookout for it.  I know my family will be enjoying some early fall magic of our own the moment the Amazon box arrives carrying our very own copy of, "The Witch Family."


Michael Di Gesu said...

What a great story Johanna. And, yes, it was magical.

I had never heard of that children's book before. It looks like a wonderful read for little girls.

Something strange and kind of magical happened to me this morning. I was humming Lady GaGa's latest song and I turned on the stereo. Lady GaGa's song played EXACTLY where I was in my head... SPOOKY.

This has happened to me before but not for a long time. Has this ever happened to you?

Unknown said...

So happy you found your story!!
When you love books so much, they become friends. And finding a long lost friend is always something to celebrate!!
Can't wait to read 'The Witch Family'!

SBJones said...

The cover looks familiar. I'm sure my sisters read it. I have read a lot of books in my life, and there are very few that I have read more than once. When I get time, I will have to round them up and figure out what it is about them that made me pick them up a second time.

S. L. Hennessy said...

Hi, new reader here! That's definitely happened to me before. It killed me because I LOVED the book when I was a kid and could never find it again. Luckily, a friend of mine recognized it as I moped at its loss years later and got it for me (it was the Phantom Toll Booth in case you're wondering).
Glad you found your book! It sounds great, and perfect for the holiday. Must check it out!

Johanna Garth said...

See Michael, you totally get it! And yes, I'm always convinced I have ESP when that happens :)

Thanks Lizy. If you get it let me know how you like it.

SB, I'd love to read a blog about some books that compelled you to read them more than once

Hi SL and welcome! The Phantom Toll Booth was another long time favorite. I re-read it with my kids last year and it was just as good as I remembered.

Sarah Tokeley said...

My special book was Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster. I'd been trying to find it for years. Recently I was scrolling through the free titles for kindle on Amazon and it was there - as soon as I saw the title, I remembered.

I love when stuff like this happens, makes me think it was all meant to be :-)

Tami said...

So glad you found your magic book. I, too, went searching for a childhood memory awhile back. The book I was looking for was 365 Bedtime Stories and, of course, when I found it I had to order a beat-up old copy from e-bay. The things 50 years old, couldn't expect to find a new one. :)

One of my favorite books as an 8-year-old was the Witch series by Ruth Chew - especially The Wednesday Witch. I still have my copy. I recommend them highly if you have a daughter in the right age bracket.

Johanna Garth said...

Sarah, meant to be! Exactly :)

Tami, I LOVED the Ruth Chew books. I have a very well-worn copy of What the Witch Left. So glad you found your 365 Bedtime Stories.

Teresa Cypher said...

What a neat story, Johanna! And to have your daughter reading a book by the same author is sort of goosebumps material! :-)

The Bookworm said...

awwww....glad youy found your book! It does sound like one of those things that was meant to be.