Sunday, October 5, 2014

Hilo Days: I Loved Those Stories

Here’s another remembrance from my childhood days, one that illustrates very simply how reading to one’s kids will make a big difference in their lives. It’s from my Hilo Days website, which is long gone, unfortunately.

Stories – 
A Tradition

Did I tell you Obachan used to tell me stories?  She told me all those famous Japanese folk tales.

There were quite a few, but the one that I remember most was "Momotaro, The Peach Boy."

It's a great story, especially the part where Momotaro fights the Oni (ogre) with his friends (monkey, dog, eagle, and maybe another animal – memory fails).

I remember lying in bed listening to Obachan tell those tales, thinking how great it would be to be Momotaro, to be born from a peach, to have such heroic friends and adventures, and to fearlessly defeat the evil devils.

And then Mom would also tell me stories. She told me those neat children's stories, and used to recite Eugene Field poetry. I especially remembered and loved "Peter Rabbit" and "Winken, Blinken and Nod."

Mom says she used to take me shopping with her and that I'd recite "Winken, Blinken and Nod" to anyone in the store who would listen. Wow. How embarrassing to find out later in life that I was strange enough to actually do that.

I really enjoyed the stories. They were great. Later on, when I became a dad, I made it a point to read to my two sons. Especially during Christmas. We always had a tradition of reading a whole bunch of stories on Christmas Eve — "The Night Before Christmas,"  "Babar Meets Father Christmas," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," and stories like that.

Remember now, those were the days when we didn't have television. Radio was the only mass electronic medium available, and no one could afford to go to movies every night. So story-telling (or story-listening) was a significant part of our lives.

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