When you are a child and like to read, you will go to any length to be able to read when adults think you should be doing something else. And I was a B.I.G. reader! Between new Nancy Drew books and old Nancy Drew books and the public library and the school library and the church library, I was pretty set. But then as I grew older, I had other responsibilities at home that took me from what I felt was my sole responsibility-reading. During summer when school was out, I wanted to eat breakfast while reading, sit on the porch and read until lunch. Read during lunch. Read all afternoon-etc. You get the picture. During the school year, it was a little easier to squeeze in some extra reading because you could always claim it was “about school”! Chores were a lot less because you had responsibilities like homework, practicing the piano, going to Girl Scouts and of course, church activities like Girls Auxiliary. It was also easier to grab extra reading time during class. Most of our school books were large. I could just open the book to the correct page and then put my library book inside the cover. Ta-dah! The perfect solution for me! All I had to do was keep up with where the teacher was. It was a great solution for me. So now all I needed was a solution for those golden days of summer.
I was a Girl Scout and went to day camp every summer. I loved camp. And the most exciting part was the overnight camp-out at the end of the session. Well, I had to have a few extra items at the camp-out. One of those items was a flashlight. I had never had my own flashlight so I had to play around with it one night. Oh my goodness. It provided just the right amount of light. Not too much. Not too little. Then T.H.E. idea came to me. Why not use my flashlight to extend my reading time in the evening? Hmmm. That sounded pretty good to me. But wait! What if someone-like my mother-saw me. That would not be good. I might lose my flashlight. I decided it was worth the risk. I hid my flashlight under the covers of my bed and tried it that night. I heard my parents go to bed and knew it was the time to give this idea a test drive. Success! I could use my pillow to form a slight tent and then read with my flashlight under the tent. And I could read as long as I W.A.N.T.E.D! Yay!
My extra reading time was wonderful except for one thing. After reading for another hour or so, I would be a little hungry. And I couldn’t get up because my parents would hear and come and check on me. Hmm. What could I do for food? My favorite reading snack was a big dill pickle. I couldn’t do that. They were wet and drippy. Ah-moonpies. They were cheap. They were yummy. They were individually wrapped. And my mom bought a big box every week. She thought they were good snacks. So I would sneak into the kitchen and snag a moonpie whenever I could. Then I would hide it in the covers on my bed. Since it was my responsibility to make my bed, it was no big deal. Problem solved! I could read all night if I wanted. I could snack and no one would be the wiser. Success!
My father did notice that my flashlight seemed to use a lot of batteries that summer. I wonder why!