Words Delight Our Senses by da-AL

Photo of woman looking at books on shelves
Courtesy Pixabay.com

Reading and writing are more than marks to on a page — they’re sensual!
My ears taught me what writing was. As my father would drive, my mother beside him, me squished in the back seat between two older brothers, they all would holler, “Yield!” and “Stop!” and “Hollywood and Vine!”
My father was in charge of money, handyman stuff, and ‘babysat.’ My mother cleaned, cooked, and tended the kids. Outside of the home, she also worked as a secretary.
Homemaking, mothering, and working didn’t interest me — but her secretarial accouterments enthralled me. That’s because they had to do with reading and writing!

Photo of old typewriter
Photo: Pixabay.com

Her spiral-bound green steno pads and click pens defined scholarly elegance.  Her dication machine, a table-top reel-to-reel tape recorder, was a whispery spooler and a boisterous reader. Pencils and ballpoint pens smelled of wood and plastic.
And paper! Bonded sheets for business letters were fabric-thick and textured to accommodate the erasure of typewriter mistakes. Tissue-thin onionskin paper was for international letters, to economize on postage.
Her typewriter, all ten ‘portable’ pounds of it, made music! There was the clacking of alphabet keys, the errp-errp-errp of sheets rolling in and out of the cylindrical platen, and the slap-ding of carriage returns. When I was allowed to hammer at the smooth plastic buttons, my fingers would twitch percussion in my dreams.
The process of my mother leaning into her typing with her brows knit, produced more wonders — a cigar box full of erasers: rectangular Pink Pearls that were worn oblong, round gritty pumic-hard wheels that featured jabby tangles of red bristles, blue and pink sweet-scented putties that were kneaded into gray wads. Hopeless typos called for alcohol scented white paint.

Photo of library and students
Photo by Tamás Mészáros from Pexels

Before I learned to read, my father would take me with him to the library. The front doors were a tall as a bank’s. Sun streamed into rooms as hushed as churches that were filled with readers, their heads bowed over their books.

What’s your first memory of reading and writing?

36 thoughts on “Words Delight Our Senses by da-AL

  1. I didn’t read much, until First Grade (no public Kindergarten, back then) and I remember saying “Mr.” as mirr and “sky” as sikky, when I first tried to pronounce them. Writing was something that Mom stressed, so I could print, fairly neatly, almost right away.

    Liked by 2 people

    • tx for sharing such sweet memories, righteousbruin9 — & good to be reminded of times when we were humble enough to simply learn, rather than feel the need to rush our learning 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great sharing!! I remember my first writing, I had started with poems and short stories( obviously not published anywhere :D) . I had a diary with me and I used to write there..so much nostalgia 💖. Thank you for writing this kind of stuff this is really amazing 🙏

    Liked by 2 people

  3. What wonderful memories of your family, Daal. You pulled me right in to the world of the mid twentieth century. I had a blue Olivetti typewriter and the same erasers in a box, though I knew nothing about stenography. Your parents bequeathed you a rich childhood and you evoke it beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

    My own first library experiences were in the tiny mobile library van that parked outside our house about once a week. For about 10 minutes at each visit, I was allowed to crawl in and lose myself in the books the librarian suggested for me. I kept the books for the week and returned them at the next visit. One of my favorite childhood memories.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I loved books from early age and somehow – I don’t remember how – taught myself to read before I got to school, because I didn’t want to be dependent all the time on somebody to read to me. Early streaks of independence … 😉

    Writing started with these poetry books that we had when we were kids. We wrote little poems into each others’ books together with a little drawing.

    Later on at gymnasium (that was in Germany, you went there if you wanted to study at university later on), I wrote funny short stories and mockery of classic poems. I still like to write funny stories, but some people don’t find them funny … 😉 … o.k., I also wrote some pretty serious stories, but I can never stop putting some humorous scenes into them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Stella, you’ve raised a great point — books from a very early age taught us to think apart! & indeed, your writing on your blog is always intelligent & smile-provoking. interesting that ‘gymnasium’ doesn’t mean ‘basketball court sort of place’ in Germany! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! Yes, Gymnasium was for athletes in ancient times. I have no idea why we call our higher education that … I am definitely not an athlete … 😉 … In France they call it Lycee, the dictionary offers “Grammar school” from the British system. One graduates with the “Abitur” or French baccalaureat and with that one can enter university.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Lovely post again, dear Daal 🙂
    I remember me crying the evening before my first school-day, because I couldn’t go! I couldn’t read and write properly yet! haha But as soon as I could, I start reading and reading. My first writing was in a diary I’ve got from my dad 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, indeed. Although I must admit, I am reading a book right now with a very small font and discovering I might need glassed to read was kind of a shock. For a moment it took my reading-pleasure away. Oh no, I too get old! haha

        Liked by 1 person

        • unfortunately I have same prob, Patty — I was blessed with extremely good sight for so long… on the other hand, people who have cataracts removed can have lenses inserted, so something to look forward to LOL

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember both my mother and father writing stories on an old typewriter. My mother started a memoir but found it too painful to continue. My father wrote stories about a fictional mouse who came on his calls with him (he was a police officer). He kept the other cops in stitches.

    Both were great storytellers. They also read to us. They gave me a great childhood. Sounds like your parents did the same, da-AL.

    Liked by 2 people

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