Janet Sumner Johnson
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Books from my Childhood


05, 2015 |

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I’ve been reading the Harry Potter series to my kids, and it’s been awesome. And not just because I can get them to do their chores with the promise of reading another chapter. They’ve loved it!

But doing so has really brought back memories of my childhood. Curled up on the floor or in my bed, listening to my mom read stories to us. I even remember staying home sick from high school (HIGH SCHOOL !!!), and laying on the couch listening to her read to me. She has been a long-time lover of children’s literature, and I directly attribute my obsession with it to her.

—–> This is me way back then, so you can better imagine me sitting on my mom’s lap, listening to stories.—->

There weren’t nearly as many choices back then, but what there was, she found them. I wanted to mention a few, because not only have all of these amazing books have influenced who I am, but these authors were the pioneers that made what I’m doing even possible.

As a little kid, my mom read picture books to us. A few stand out in my memory as ones we made her and my dad read over and over and over. THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK by Jon Stone was the BEST.

Fear of the unknown was a real thing for me back then. (Okay, it still is.) I remember hating to go downstairs on my own, because WHO KNEW what might come out of that big pot-belled wood-burning stove down there??? And it was dark. And it smelled funny. And the carpet had this crazy brown and orange pattern that could start spinning and might HYPNOTIZE me, and what would I do then???

Point being, I got Grover. I understood! I sympathized with his fears. But I still laughed every time we turned that page, and the story got messier and messier, and the pages got rattier and rattier (both figuratively and literally because we read that book so much). I LOVED being part of the story. It was all so real. Even though of course I knew it wasn’t.

And I don’t want to ruin the ending for any of you who might not have read it (and if so, watch out for the Goodreads link above . . . they aren’t so careful), but this book made me braver. It helped me step up my courage, and you know what? I dared go downstairs on my own (okay, maybe not at night, but baby steps, people). I dared press forward into the unknown. Because lets face it. Life is full of A LOT of unknown. This book was a real part of my childhood. One that influenced me big time. So thank you, Jon Stone for writing it! Thank you, Sesame Street Creators for making such a great character!

And I realize this is all going to take more space than one blog post can handle, so I’ll just have to blog about this again. In the mean time, tell me about a book that influenced your childhood. I’d love to hear!

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Reclused . . . I mean, Reduced to Fear


21, 2010 |

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It was late. The kids were asleep. My husband had gone to bed. I was hard at work finishing my blogs for the week. Then I saw it. A quarter-sized spider not three feet away.

I screamed. I mean SCREAMED! The spider froze, watching me with its beady little eyes. I didn’t dare look away for fear it would disappear into my house. I called my husband, trying not to wake the kids. He’s a light sleeper, I thought. He’ll come.


I called again, cursing the tremor in my voice that made me sound like such a wuss. Again, and again. Still no knight in shining armor to rescue me!

The spider was getting antsy. I started to creep away. I realized I needed to kill the blasted thing or it would escape and haunt my dreams . . . and my waking life.

I grabbed the empty garbage can and stepped closer. The spider knew.

Zoom! It sped away like nothing. Then I really started screaming (I’m ashamed now to admit it, but I didn’t care who I woke . . . the kids, the neighbors, the dead). I had completely lost it! And of course the thing ran for the pile of boxes in the corner (we’re getting ready to move).

I was still screaming for my husband when he came sauntering out of the room. “What is it honey?”

Boy I laid into him. But I was in hysterics by then. Fortunately he could tell. He didn’t make any sudden movements, and he spoke in a nice soothing voice. I shivered in the corner while he painstakingly went through every box till he killed it. Yeah, it was a Brown Recluse. *shivers again*

So now I don’t know which I should feel worse about: that my mental state is so fragile I lost it at the sight of a mere spider . . . or that my husband never came running despite my bloody murder screams.

What do you think? And please tell me I’m not the only one to have such irrational fears!

And again, don’t forget to enter my CONTEST here! Ends tomorrow at midnight EDT.

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