Drop Everything And Read

What? Everyone doesn't read while they hike?
Kids, don't read and hike

I was almost a teenager before I knew there was such a thing as people who don’t like to read. My grandmother’s house is filled with books. My mom’s house was filled with books. On road trips, when we stopped for dinner at some restaurant in some little town on the I5, we—mom, my sister Traci and I—would order our food and then all pull out whatever we were reading at the time, occasionally sharing interesting tidbits. We considered this a perfectly social way to spend dinner.

I got in trouble for reading. In kindergarten, mom got a polite request from the teacher to please ask me not to read the private papers sitting on her desk. And many a time I was caught huddled under my bed covers with a flashlight because I just had to know what was going to happen next in the Black Stallion series.

We lost mom to (completely preventable) colon cancer 4 years ago today. I have no interest in sitting around moping, but I did want to do something fitting to remember her and remind people what an amazing person she was, and how many lives she touched.

In her 10+ years as the librarian at Self Enhancement Inc encouraged a love of reading in all the kids who crossed her path (and many adults).

One fun thing she started was D.E.A.R. Drop Everything And Read. At the appointed time, the entire building would take a break, pull out a book and get lost in another world for 15 minutes.

Everything starts with language. Without language, we can’t communicate. Without comunication, we can’t connect. Without written words, it’s harder to preserve knowledge. Thanks mom for giving me a deep love of words that has opened up the whole world.

I’ll be spending 15 minutes buried in a book today in mom’s memory. I invite you to do the same, and if you’re so inclined, let me know what you’re reading in the comments.

7 Comments


  1. I love it when you post remembrances of your mom. She was clearly hugely important to you, and it speaks loudly of the impact we have on the people around us, even after we die. I can’t even fathom my life after my mom dies, but I hope I’ll be able to endear her to people who never met her, as you’ve done. : )

    Unfortunately I’ll be reading a lot more than 15 minutes today, and it will largely be boring journal articles and trade magazines reflections about copyright issues. Blech. But perhaps before going to bed, I’ll get out one of the few books I haven’t already packed away for my upcoming move, and dig in for a bit. For your mom!

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    1. Heather, thanks for the lovely comment! For some reason I didn’t get my usual comment notification so I didn’t see it till just now. I feel your pain about being stuck reading nothing but text books. My spring break was too short to really did into anything but I’ve got a few good ones standing by. 🙂

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  2. What a beautiful way to remember your mom!

    Ms. T reads a lot more, now that she has an e-reader (Nook). I will eventually buy one, too. I don’t read much, anymore, and I miss it.

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    1. This was definitely the most successful April 12th I’ve had in a while. 🙂 I miss reading too! I’m desperate to run off to the Sylvia Beach Hotel with a big stack.

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  3. I did it – I DEAR’d. Thanks for helping give light to priorities 🙂

    I don’t think I have heard you say that your mom’s cancer was “completely preventable” before. I’m reminded of some of your feelings while she was dying.

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  4. Hey Sandy,

    I was just thinking about you the other day. Thanks for stopping by.

    A colonoscopy can basically remove polyps before they become cancerous. Usually doctors recommend starting to get them around age 50, but as it turns out there’s a history of colon cancer in my family–my grandmother had it when she was 50, but because she didn’t ignore it, she had surgery and was fine–in fact she just turned 87 on Sunday and is still looking great and going strong.

    When Grammy finally told her kids that she had had cancer, my aunt Jo who is a doctor, called all her siblings and encouraged them to get early screening. Not one person did–in fact mom ignored her symptoms for years, and she and my uncle Jonathan both paid the price.

    So yes–completely preventable, and yes, I’m still a little bitter.

    Hope you’re doing well, how’s your little one?

    Reply

  5. Lovely tribute. I’m so busy that I need excuses to read and I’m going to use this as one.

    Thanks,
    Dan

    Reply

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