remembering our childhood

John Graves writes that “They say in West Texas of a sorry piece of country that at least it helps to hold the world together.  I guess you can say the same thing about adolescence in relation to a lifetime, but I find it matter for gratitude that that self lasted for only a short span of years, and even during that period functioned merely part-time.  Because all the while, in me and in others, there was a separate, hidden, lonesome self who was watching Fort Worth, Texas, and what he could see of the wider world with curiosity and concern, and trying to figure out the why of it and where he fitted.  Not an adolescent but someone trying to grow up.

“Other realms with different sets of values were accessible to help in that effort.  The outdoors was one.  South Texas, where my father came from, was another . . . Books were another still, the widest of all.  It is possible to sound very pious about books and reading, especially when you are getting older and have led a somewhat bookish life.  I don’t want to sound that way if I can help it, though books have mattered hugely to me all my life.”

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