What is it that makes us the person we end up being? I’m not a psychologist, nor do I play one on TV, but I’ve been pondering that question. I’ve been observing my kids and how different they all are, and from there, how different I am from my siblings. Reflecting upon who I am and what I like to do, I think I can point to a couple of different events in my childhood that made me who I am.
I stated on my facebook account that “I’m a shy and quiet guy, until you get to know me. Then you realize that I’m a shy and quiet guy.” Compared to my siblings, I am the quiet one. Was there an event in my childhood that defined me?
As I said, I’ve been pondering this for awhile, and I think that yes, there are defining moments. The first had to be in 2nd grade when I was introduced to the library. What a wonder of information that was stored there.
I got glasses in the 4th grade. Why would this be my defining moment? Before this moment I was an active kid, even with knowing where the library was. Afterwards, well, my glasses were big and ugly and I was self conscious about them. I was also reminded that I had to protect them.
I played sports, loved baseball, but couldn’t see well through my glasses to hit or catch the ball with any consistency. Tried basketball and football, but the glasses were a burden. My friends were good at sports. I became the typical bookworm.
I became a consumer of the written word. Biographies, histories, westerns, science fiction and fantasy, comics, the back of cereal boxes. I was rarel without a book. In the summer of 76, the Mountain Home AFB Library had a reading contest for kids. Who could read the most books over summer vacation. I took that challenge.
I read 92 books that summer and discovered many favorite authors, particularly Andre Norton, Ann McCarthy and Louis L’Amour. I thought I had won that contest, but discovered that my baseball coach’s daughter read 91 books. The library staff was so impressed with the two of us that they gave us both the prize. I got a gift certificate to a book store and a host of new friends.
New friends that took me to far away places or even familiar places. Louis L’Amour wrote about the wild west. And later, he wrote a series about the Sacketts. The first Sackett was Barnabas Sackett from the Fens of England. The Fens were the wetlands surrounding Ely and Cambridge in England. Now drained and home to Littleport, Ely, Mildenhall RAFB, Lakenheath RAFB Feltwell.. The land of the heroes of the Battle of Britain. Where Eagles Flew and John Gillespie McGee, Jr. “slipped the surly bonds of earth..” A place to grow up for a military nut.
Where was I? Who am I?
I’m the shy quiet guy who is comfortable with being alone as long as he has a good book.