Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Confessions of a Bibliophile - Part One

Bibliophile - a lover of books

When I was two years old, my favorite book was The Animals of Farmer Jones.  I loved this book so much that I had it memorized with the appropriate page turns so that it looked like I was reading.  I still have a decent portion of it rattling around in my head, "It's supper time on the farm, the animals are hungry, but where is Farmer Jones..."  I loved books.

It is a little known fact that my education started at Parowan Elementary.  I went to school there for all of Kindergarten and half of first grade when my family moved to Cedar (because my dad was tired of driving back and forth to work - have you ever noticed how cyclical life can be sometimes?).  

I remember really liking my Kindergarten teacher.  Her name was Mrs. Topham and for Halloween (when kids could still go to school in costumes) she and I were both a witch.  Sure, you may think that's pretty normal, but we both had red broomsticks too.  I remember it was about that time of year that I had a much older kid (probably a second or third grader) call me a Kindergarten Baby, and I laughed at them because little did they know I was the oldest of then three kids and hadn't been a baby for quite some time.  And they thought they were so smart. 

I don't remember my first first grade teacher at all.  I'm sure she was nice, but I remember that we had reading groups that we would break up into and sit at the tables.  She did a bird theme.  There were the eagles, robins, sparrows, falcons and bluebirds.  Seems harmless enough, right? Well, everyone knew why the eagles were the eagles and why the bluebirds were the bluebirds.  I was a bluebird.  I don't remember being able to read at all in that class (granted those memories are few and far between).  

It's not as though my parents had much control over who was my teacher, but I personally think there was some divine intervention because I got Mrs. Ipson (some of you may remember her...).  She had this shelf on the outside of her classroom (remember how the halls weren't really halls in the lower grades, but just half walls with bookshelves?).  Each of these books had colored tape, white, yellow, red, green, purple, blue, brown and black.  
Light colored tape was an easier book and they got harder as the color got darker.   Mrs. Ipson didn't put us in tables with pretend names to cover abilities.  She said it didn't matter who read what color.  What was important was that everyone had the chance to read.  And she did not allow comparing or teasing of any kind.

When I entered Mrs. Ipson's class I was reading yellow.  I don't know why, whether it just took a little longer for it to click or I just needed the right system or what, but I remember thinking I wanted to read black (I think I may have mentioned a time or two before that I am very competitive - I want to be the best).  

Something clicked.  I remember not being able to wait for reading time in first grade.  I didn't want to go out to recess because I wanted to read.  I thought about lying about being sick so I didn't have to go out, but knew that my Primary teacher said lying was bad and my mom had this FHE lesson about it, so I didn't (but I really wanted to).  

I started flying through the colors like crazy.  There were all these great stories and I didn't want to stop just because we were at the end of a chapter - I wanted to read the whole thing.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  

My first love in the world was books.  And by the end of that first grade year, I was reading the great hard-bound black taped books.  Even when I didn't have great experiences with teacher continuing through some of elementary, I still loved books. 

The reason for this memory and the others that will follow soon? (really, I can't explain all of the book-loving craziness in just one post)  I saw Mrs. Ipson last night, wanted to catch up with her to tell her thank you, but missed her.  She started the process of me becoming a bibliophile.


Charlotte said...

I'm just barely too old to have been able to have Mrs. Ipson as a teacher (My brother Robert did, and he's only two years younger than me), but she knows me, and has always been a favorite of mine. The number of kids she's lifted has got to be in the thousands. What a legacy.

Janet S. said...

I hope you find a way to share this with Mrs. Ipson, Tasha. I know when Joy comes home next August and tries to catch up with all the Blogs, she'll want to write about Mrs. Challis who had this kind of influence in her life.