Books, Dust, and Homecomings

by Kate

The members of my family are some of the most fiercely committed readers I have ever met.

This may be due to the fact that for a long time, my parents raised nine kids with no television in the house. Eventually the basketball players launched a relentless and successful assault based on the importance of watching sports, but for many years the only way to escape from the noise and constant presence of siblings was through the pages of a book. As you can see, this is a very effective escapist tool.

The passion for reading may also have been passed down straight from my father- a man who never attends a sporting event, meeting, concert, or choir practice without a heap of periodicals half a foot high.

As a result, the big white farmhouse at Sweet Ridge Farm is full of books. Books upon shelves….

Books and magazines upon and under tables….

And bookshelves in bedrooms, reflecting the history and tastes of the nine children and various and sundry extra inhabitants who have lived or are still living at home.

If you look closely at this photo from Colleen’s room last summer, you may be able to discern that she is headed off to the Classics loving University of Dallas.

Now, as Colleen mentioned in a recent post, she is headed home for Spring Break this upcoming weekend with a group of fellow University of Dallas students. This news, while welcome, sent my mother searching for spots to stow several college students in our large but fairly full farmhouse. In the process of searching, she noted not only many books, but a fair amount of the dust that seems to accompany heaps of books and also the detritus of several large young men in or slightly beyond their teenage years. Luckily for my mother, my sister Mary recently returned home to the ridge. Mary has an orderly and artistic soul. Her bookshelves (and entire room) are always the neatest in the house by a long shot.

This week, Mary tackled the hall and the Third Floor, which was full of not only bookshelves….

But also teenagers, a broken vacuum cleaner, paint cans, and various other heaps of detritus. In her zeal, she may or may not have clipped various important cords running into the house. I believe there have been some strong protests about her scorched earth style policy, but I’m sure that when the college crew arrives this weekend they will have a clean and harmonious spot to sleep. Also, if they need to borrow any reading materials for a brief mental respite from the chaos, they are totally set.

4 thoughts on “Books, Dust, and Homecomings

  1. Jenna

    I love how you lumped “teenagers” and “heaps of detritus” into the same sentence. =) And I can totally identify with the beautiful escape of a good book!

  2. Gypsy Queen

    This is my family! I was 21 before I lived in a house with a TV and my parents still don’t own one. I only have 3 siblings but we all read voraciously 🙂

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots

    You can never have too many books. I’m a reader as are my three children. I strongly believe that the ability to read and read with a passion will take you far academically. And, it’s always a great way to escape, as you noted. Many years ago I caught my son reading under the covers with a flashlight when he should have been sleeping. Now that’s a love of reading.

    While my family certainly owns books, we have mostly checked them out from the local public library. It’s free and once I’ve read a book, I typically do not read it again.


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