- Books, Literature, and Writing»
- Commercial & Creative Writing
My Book About Me: Bridging Generations
I expect traditional books to stay in print for decades. The same doesn't necessarily hold true of journals you write in. Thus I was surprised to see that Dr. Suess' My Book About Me was still being sold on a wide scale and still being written in by a new generation of children. I mean, didn't I have one of those when I was little?
Oh, yes, I did -- and the fact is, I still have it, though it's been more than 30 years since I wrote in it. It's hardback, and it still looks the same: the penciled and re-penciled letters and numbers, the eraser marks. As Emerson said when beholding a river that he had pondered as a six-year-old child, "These are the same, but I am not the same."
I suspect I got my book for Christmas when I was in first grade -- back when "I can read it myself" was still a big deal. One page declares that on my next birthday, I would have seven candles. In classic first grade style, the seven is written backwards. There are pages, though, that were probably done later than first grade. I am guessing that I was in second grade when I wrote that I wanted to be a teacher (in mostly cursive letters) and that I was older yet when I copied a picture of a purple and yellow Dr. Seuss bird.
I've been musing over reviews. Parents sometimes opt to give their children lots of help in capturing details of their lives and recording them in this yellow hardcover book. Mine didn't. That's how I happened to misunderstand some directions and jot -- or should I say meticulously print -- some misinformation. There is a two-page spread for autographs. At the top, the directions note that most children can't get them all. I think I remember asking my mother what an autograph was. She told me. I didn't recognize that I was supposed to use the pages to actually collect autographs. I thought I was merely supposed to write down whether I had them or not. I wrote "I didn't" on every line on those two pages! (You can see a bit of the autograph collection I didn't have below.)
I also wrote that it was 80 steps from my house to the first store. Hmm... We lived between four and five miles from town and I had never walked from my home to any store. Still, 80 sounded like a big number. 80 was as old as my grandmother.
I have thought about sharing the book with my nieces. I don't think my brother can share his.
My parents both died when I was in my mid- to late thirties. At some point well before that, I nabbed the book from my parents' house. I am not sure if I had the foresight to nab my brother's book -- or if I found it at all. I do remember that my brother had a copy once upon a time. I think he got his before I got mine. Perhaps it was a first grade ritual. The cover was slightly different on his copy; whereas mine is shiny lemon yellow, his was more of a matte finish yellow. I don't recall how much of it was actually written in.
Ah, the passing of years! Next year, the younger niece will be in first grade. Hmmm... If I brought her a book at Christmas, we could work on it together...
Mementos from a Long Ago Self...
Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
This is a book that may appeal to children who have outgrown the Dr. Suess book -- though some folks opt for both. Dr. Suess has kids do various activities: count things in their houses, write their best friend's name backwards, and even check whether or not they would want to be a giraffe. "All About Me" is a more traditional book of writing prompts.
This is one you want to purchase for kids when they're still babies. The parent creates something of a time capsule by recording and "scrapping" on eighteen birthdays -- then presents it to the child as a young adult.
Here is a book by another former child (long since grown).