Before I learned to read my Great Aunt Irene gave me a collection of books called Golden Readers.
Back when I was a kid Golden Readers were really nice books, they were bound well and had beautiful artwork. Of course I couldn’t read yet and I wouldn’t let anyone read them to me.
I used to sit myself down and read them myself.
I didn’t actually read them, I just made up stories based on the pictures I saw.
I would bring my little brother and sister into my room. Put my chair in front of the door and start to read.
My sister used to end up crying and my brother would end up hiding under the bed.
Once my Dad heard my brother yelling for me to stop and the next thing I knew our Dad was trying to push the door open.
I got up and opened the door and my Dad was standing there with a cigarette in his mouth and his eyes were on fire.
I closed the book and for some reason I shoved it under my pillow.
“What’s going on?”
” I’m reading Cinderella. She’s my favorite.”
My Dad had these green eyes and boy did they burn when he wanted to get to the bottom of anything.
” Cinderella.” He said.
” Mmmm. Yep. Just Cinderella.”
My sister jumped off the bed and ran to my Dad and grabbed his hand. ” CInderella is scary She-” my sister pointed her pudgy little baby finger at me ” said she meets three horsemen in the woods and steals their horses and makes everyone come down with Chicken Pox.”
” You turned Cinderella into the Horsemen of the Apocalypse and scared your sister.”
” Not all of them. Just one.”
” She even killed Henny Penny.” My Brother, the snitch said.
” No I didn’t the Horse did”
” The Horse of Babylon ate her with cornbread and gravy.” My brother informed my Dad.
” The Horse of Babylon…wait…hey Anita what the hell?” He went to my little book shelf and pulled the books out.
Sure Dad, I think to myself all those years later, the Whore of Babylon ate Henny Penny and your Aunt gave me a Golden Reader of that with pictures.
” Where are you getting this crap from?”
I put my hands behind my back and saved my skin. I’m not ashamed to say it. I threw Jesus under the bus. ” At Sunday school.”
” I want you to stop this. Cinderella doesn’t not start Armageddon and end the world”
I stamped my foot.
” And make her leave Pinocchio alone. Tell her he doesn’t turn mean kids into toadstools and feeds them to frogs.” my sister demanded.
My Dad was speechless.
” That’s what frogs eat. Toadstools. Right?” I asked.
My Dad took my Golden Readers of the shelf and he pulled Cinderella out from under my pillow.
” No! Give them back.!” I was in a rage.
But so was my Dad.
” Your Mother will read these to you from now on.”
” I like my stories better.”
My Dad took my books and right after he shut my door I went to my desk and pulled out my color books.
Of course, I didn’t color in them.
I hopped up on my bed. Schooched into a comfortable reading position and opened the book.
” Once upon a time, ” I began ” a girl named Anita made a potion and…”