Books and Media

What books, television shows, or music do you remember from when you were young?

I grew up in the dark ages! Well, at least we did not have television until I was almost 15 years old! So television shows were really not part of my life. On rare occasion we would visit someone and get to watch a program or too. The only program I actually remember watching in those years was “The Beverly Hillbillies,” which I saw once or twice, and of course it was in black and white. We did have friends and some relatives with television, but we were encouraged to go outside and play, or play table games or something like that when we visited. On very rare occasions, we might see a bit of the news or a bit of a Christian show, but they were almost always in black and white, and were “talking head” shows with serious old men at the helm – not very exciting!

As for music, almost all the music I experienced in my pre-teen years was Christian music, principally hymns and Sunday School/church campfire songs, along with “specials” by male quartets or sometimes male/female duets or trios, plus Christmas concerts and camp meetings that featured “choirs.” Music was a very important part of church, and over the years I learned hundreds, perhaps more than a thousands hymns and Sunday School choruses, which have stuck with me to this day. I still really appreciate them because the lyrics were so easy to memorize, and so many of them taught great gospel truths. Us kids all loved the campfire songs like “I’ve got a home in glory-land” and “Hallelu- hallelu- hallelu- hallelujah; Praise Ye The Lord!” I also attended Pioneer Girls where we learned the theme song, “Pioneers Who Crossed the Prairies,” and our prayer song, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” which is a favorite of mine to this day. When I started school, we also learned a variety of old folk songs, patriotic songs, and similar music. I remember songs like “White coral bells” and “My Grandfather’s Clock” for example, as well as “O Canada” and “God Save the Queen.” When I was in grades 6 and 7, it was Canada’s Centennial year, 1967, and we learned a lot of songs related to our country’s history.

When I was nine years old, I started to take piano lessons from Greta Sharp, and once I got past the beginner books, began to be introduced to classical music, which I have always enjoyed since.

When I was eight years old, we had a grade 12 student board with us for a few months; he loved to listen to music on the radio, and it was at that time that I realized there were other kinds of music, including rock ‘n roll! The first “hit parade” song that sunk into my consciousness was the Beatle’s “She Loves Me, yeah, yeah, yeah!” Us kids thought the song was hilarious, and a bunch of us would clamber up onto a dead tree in the back yard that had been cut down and was just lying there, and we’d get it rocking and rolling, then loudly sing “She loves me, yeah, yeah, yeah, rock’n’roll!” and laugh hilariously! However, once our boarder was gone, I lost interest in pop music until I was in grade 7 and my friends started listening to it. My best friend, Lydia, would buy all the pop music magazines, plus 45 hit records, and bring them over to our house, along with her radio and record player, and teach me all the hits, as well as show me the currently popular dance moves. The first group we were really interested in was The Monkees! I also was reintroduced to the Beatles, and started to listen to pop music for myself, though I wasn’t as excited about it as some of my friends.

As I got into my early teen years, I started exploring other kinds of music, but that is another story!

As for books, our home was full of them. Our parents bought an encyclopedia set long before us children could read, and there were many other sets of books, including the works of Shakespeare, English and American literature collections, children’s novel collections, many young children’s books (especially “Little Golden Books”), and Christian children’s fiction. We also had, from a very early age, the 10 volume set of “The Bible Story” books by Arthur Maxwell, and our dad read the entire series through to us several times over the years, as part of our daily “Family Worship.” There were also magazines, chiefly Christian/ church magazines, but also “Beautiful British Columbia” magazine and “Reader’s Digest,” and for a period of time I was delighted to have my own subscription to “Highlights For Children.”

In my day, school started with grade one, and for the first while I was in the “Turtles” as it seemed to my teacher that I was slow learning to read. However, after talking to my mom, she found out that I was just shy to read aloud at school, and was in fact reading all kinds of things at home. After that, she skipped me over the “Rabbits” group to the “Eagles” group, and I was flying! I read everything I could get my hands on. In grade 3, I was invited by the school librarian to join the library club, which meant access to far more books than the normal one-a-week that most students could sign out. I suppose there must have been a community library in my early days, but oddly enough, I never was introduced to it until I started going there myself as a college student! We did have a church library with lots of Christian children’s’ fiction as well as non-fiction, at least after I was about 11 or 12 years old. One book I especially remember from elementary days was “The Secret Garden” which the librarian read to our class in third grade. I also enjoyed the “Joy Sparton” books, and some of the Nancy Drew mysteries, and I read and re-read the Mark Twain books, such as “Tom Sawyer.” I was intrigued by books in which the characters seemed daring, I suppose because I personally lived a rather sheltered existence! Another book which I especially loved, was “Jane of Lantern Hill,” an L.M. Montgomery book which had only had one or two printings, and had not been well accepted at the time of publishing because it dealt with divorce; however, my mom had an old copy of it, and I read it and re-read it many times. Oddly enough, however, I wasn’t very fond of the “Anne” and other books by Montgomery. Many years later, when I was an adult, “Jane of Lantern Hill” was reprinted, and became very popular. When I read the book as a young person, I was so taken with it, that I determined that someday I would have a little girl and name her “Jane Victoria.” And so it happened; my fourth daughter is Wendy Jane Victoria!

When I was in grades 6 and 7, in Centennial year, I decided my “Centennial project” would be to read 100 novels. Well, I passed the 100 mark early in June, and kept on reading. Eventually I gave up counting, but I’m sure I must have gone well past the 200 mark, for sure. Also, that year dad bought us a set of the “World Book Encyclopedia” which was much more colorful and interesting than the old Encyclopedia set, and I read a lot of that, as well as reading the set of “Childcraft” that came with it, reading some volumes several times. In grade 7, I went to a different elementary school, and it had a huge library. There I discovered the prolific British writer Enid Blyton. I read a great many of her books at that time; I loved the stories that took place in mysterious old castles and such. Her books had a very strong effect on developing my imagination, and giving me a love for words and descriptive writing! As I grew into my teen years, my reading widened… but that too is another story!

Posted: Jun 14, 2008

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