As a habitual reader of Pamela Ribon’s blog, I stumbled across something of which I had never before heard but which touched me immediately as soon as I did. My friend Jamie-- who I once made fun of for bringing a book to a bar-- might not believe this, but I’ve truly loved to read ever since I was in kindergarten. My dad wouldn’t let me take naptime with the other kids; he claimed then it was because I had severe allergies and wouldn’t be able to breathe properly if I laid down on a dusty floor. I think now, knowing his acute OCD was just kicking in at that point in time, he probably just didn’t want me lying on the dirty floor. In any respect, I had to sit upright alone at my desk with the lights dimmed while everyone else closed their eyes and at least pretending to sleep. I’d get bored studying the few posters on the walls, so I’d bring in my American Girl books, at first just staring at the colored pencil sketches of Samantha and her friends, imagining I was in their school, in their time.
My kindergarten teacher took notice and praised my independent activity to my parents during the first parent-teacher conference. It was news to them that I could pick out more than a few lone words, but once they saw I was making steady progress on my own, they nurtured it. My mother gave me an allowance when it came to toys I could buy on trips to the mall, but that budget never included books: I could buy stacks upon stacks as long as I was reading and enriching my mind. Nothing was too amateur a story: I read “The Babysitter’s Club” alongside “The Face on the Milk Carton,” Judy Blume (had to fit in with the other nine year-old girls!), and Stephen King. Needless to say, school book-sales were the greatest mornings in my educational career. My mother would arm me with enough money to buy quite a few books from a regular store, and at the insanely discounted prices, I often had enough left over for the cartoon shaped erasers and puppy bookmarks I never used but squirreled away at the bottom of the rack on my desk.
I grew up going to public school in New York City, and we’ve all heard the rumors about the education you get there. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not just rumors, but I strongly believe it doesn’t always matter how good a teacher you may have, you only learn as much as you’re willing to. I never had much use for math or science, but words were my best friends.
Through Pamela’s site I found various Amazon Wishlists that made donating to the Dewey Donation System pretty foolproof. I felt like I absolutely had to because I know at what a disadvantage I would have been if I didn’t have access to all of the worlds created through books. Though I’ve come late to the game, like Pamela, I, too, plan to make this charitable cause (like a few others) an annual event in my life.
Today, as the events come to a close, she even sweetened the pot. Now you can go on eBay and bid (with all proceeds going to the Dewey Donation System) on a personal tour of the Samantha Who? set: you’ll get to watch a scene tape, meet the cast, and perhaps even attend a table read. It’s a must for any fan of Pamela, Christina Applegate, Melissa McCarthy, Barry Watson, Jean Smart, Jennifer Esposito, television, or smart comedy in general. But as much as I encourage you to give to Dewey, I can’t supply you with the link for this auction: I can’t risk having you all outbid me!