Saturday, November 15, 2008


My niece was complaining about school the other day. They had been “forced” to read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

Had I read it? Yes.

Did I like it? Yes.

Did I EVER learn anything worthwhile in seventh grade? Well, I had to confess yes I did.

I read Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes when I was in Junior High School. At thirteen I didn’t care if the novel had won the Newberry Award in 1944. Nor did I give a hoot that Johnny was involved in the Revolutionary War. Worse of all it was a guy book. I complained bitterly to anyone who would listen that my seventh grade teacher Mr. Nolan was a liar. He had promised the story was exciting, a great adventure, and we’d love it.


At age thirteen I loved gothic novels (aka romance reader.) I slugged through Johnny’s adventure kicking, screaming and whining until I got to the description of bundling. I read with delight and desire the detailed description of the colonial courting ritual about BUNDLING. Parents who wrapped each adolescent in a different blanket. Parents who then put them both in the same bed, so they might talk through the night. My heart was racing, my hands were sweating and I reread that particular passage until the print began to smudge. How cool were revolutionary parents?

Woo Hoo! What a great idea. A blanket, my boyfriend, and a bed and we got to talk all night. Oh yeah. My hormones were in overdrive. I was ready to go and put this old ritual into modern practice. I even had new pajamas.

There was however, a fly in the proverbial ointment, MY parents. They knew me too well. NO blankets if a boy was involved. And OH HELL NO, I was getting within sight of a bed if there was a guy in the house.

Well Esther made me appreciate history that year and I'll give props to Mr. Nolan for having us read the book. My niece hasn't been seen for days. She's looking through all my book boxes for the my well worn copy of Johnny Tremain.
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