Wednesday, February 11, 2015

From My Commonplace: Wisdom from Children's Literature

So…Michelle (Age 9) has taken to recommending books to me.  I have three or four sitting on my nightstand right now that she said I "really must read, Mama, because they were SO interesting."  Some of these I read as a child too, but have forgotten much of, others have been new to me.  Elizabeth Enright's Gone-Away Lake was one of those, although I really can't imagine how on earth I missed it since her series about the Melendy family (The Saturdays, The Four Story Mistake, Then There Were Five, and Spiderweb for Two) were some of my absolute hands-down favorites.  Gone-Away Lake is a delightful story of some children who happen upon some abandoned former summer houses around a swamp that used to be a lake and the eccentric but kindly old brother and sister who still live there.  Highly recommended.   This little nugget made it into my commonplace book (who said children's books were only for children?):
" 'If you could just hold onto it,' said Portia, sitting back on the warm grass.  Her knees were stiff from kneeling.
'Onto what? The weather?' Aunt Hilda sat back on the grass, too, and pushed her tumbled hair away from her brow with the back of her muddy hand.  She was a very pretty woman.
'The weather, partly, but mostly the time.  June like this, and everything starting to be.  Summer starting to be.  Everything is just exactly right.'
'But if it were this way every day, all the time, we'd get too used to it.  We'd toughen to it,' said Aunt Hilda. 'People do.  It's just because it doesn't and can't last that a day like this is so wonderful.'
'Good things must have comparers I suppose,' said Portia.  'Or how would we know how good they are?'
'Exactly!' Aunt Hilda went back to her weeding; and after a minute Portia did, too."
~Elizabeth Enright, Gone-Away Lake

In My Bookbag This Week:
Devotional: Revelation, with a commentary The Final Word (Wilmshurst)
Theological or Christian Living: Ourselves (Mason)
Book Discussion Group Titles: Idylls of the King (Tennyson), Watership Down (Adams), The Everlasting Man  (Chesterton)
On Education: How to Read a Book (Adler)
Topics of Special Interest: The New World (Churchill)
Novel/Biography/Memoir: City of Tranquil Light (Caldwell)
Read-Alouds with the Children: On the Banks of Plum Creek (Wilder), The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Lewis), Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold (Benge), The Milly Molly Mandy Story Book (Brisley)
On the Back Burner: Inferno (Dante), The Abolition of Man (Lewis)

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  1. I love that, "good things must have comparers" we were talking about that last night at the table. My husband had watched some videos of people hearing for the first time after cochlear implants and their joyful responses. They had strong comparisons. Thanks for the phrase :)

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this! We LOVE the Melendys and I had forgotten about Gone Away Lake.


    I noticed you're reading City of Tranquil Light. I love that book, too. 😊

  3. The Melendy's were big hits in our house, but they didn't take to Gone-Away Lake as much. Personally, I loved it.

  4. I read Gone Away Lake aloud several years ago. It is still a favorite here. Your post is making me want to re-read it.