I recall but dimly the excitement
of first recognizing human words in the print
on a page. I've been reading and writing
for aeons even aeiouns! In my most recent
childhood, I knew before I was supposed to know --
not the words, but that words were there
on the page from which my Mom replenished
her harried day-time voice, made it big
and small and hard and soft with stories
out of books we called "Golden" that had covers
with lively pictures in ornate golden frames.
The moment of revelation I recall (age 7)
was on first finding and (standing there --
in the Hebrew School library, of all places!)
starting to read THE TOWER TREASURE by
Franklin W. Dixon (someone with another name
who used to be Mr. Dixon died a few years ago) --
my first Hardy Boys book. I couldn't believe it!
This was no children's story, no Alice and Jerry
saying "Run, Jip, Run!" to their dog, no fairy
princess, no ogre -- look at the picture (oddly called
the "frontispiece") -- two kids a little older than me!
This was good stuff, like the gun shots on the radio,
overheard by a child who was supposed to be asleep.
This was two older kids catching real crooks -- WOW!
I didn't know they had good stuff like this in books.
Frank and Joe Hardy even had a buddy (Chet Morton)
who was plump and cracked too many jokes,
just like me.
Note: In line 4, above, "aeiouns" is simply aeons
extended to include ALL the vowels, and perhaps express our shrieks
at confronting the aeons before and behind us as we ask Y? O Y?
There were moments in my elementary school days when it was
discouraging to realize that Frank and Joe Harding were fictions.
(I used to look for them in people I saw on the street.) Odder still
to discover that Franklin W. Dixon was also a fiction (pen name
for several ghosts). But that's OK I, the reader, was also
a work of fiction. Don't tell the Hardy Boys it would disappoint
them, I know.