Back in the Dark Ages, after the last dinosaurs had curled up and died beneath sheets of ice which are now melting at an alarming rate, children often spent hours sitting quietly, reading books.
Even the little Dale girls would sometimes settle down in various corners of the house, enjoying a quiet afternoon ...
"Where's my pink shirt?"
"What pink shirt? I haven't seen it!"
"You're WEARING it!! Take that off right now!!"
"I'm reading! Leave me alone!"
"Take it off or I'll whap you on the head with that book!"
Once the bleeding stopped, we would take out a favorite book and escape to another world - usually involving mischievous children who torment each other and get into all kinds of trouble. Go figure.
We had three wonderful books that were long and skinny. In fact, I have them at my house now. (But don't tell my sisters.)
There was the Tall Book of Fairy Tales, the Tall Book of Mother Goose, and the Tall Book of Make-Believe. They were so well-loved, they are now held together with duct tape. The inside cover of the Fairy Tale book tells a story all its own. Scrawled in pencil, it says:
Lesley Dale's book (all scratched out)
Karen's book (even more scratched out)
(Mainly Karen's and Lesley's)
I think we all had a slight issue with sharing.
The Make-Believe book had some great stories. There was Bad Mousie, about a little mouse who lived with a little girl named Donnica. Naturally, Monica claimed this story for her own because she thought her name was so much like Donnica but we told her nuh-uh, it's not even close there's like two whole letters that are different and besides you can't claim a story and if you could it would go by age so Monica would have to choose third. Anyway, Bad Mousie cut holes in the bedspread, threw the clean socks into the bathtub, and made little mud tracks all over the rug. He was awful. We loved him dearly.
There was a story called The Very Mischief which we read over and over.
This one was about three children who found all kinds of ways to
be naughty including pulling the black keys off the piano, dragging their little sister underneath the door and throwing a party for wild animals.
You can tell this was an all-time favorite because, as this picture shows, the pages are all torn and patched and covered with tape marks.
There were also some sweet, wholesome stories, like "When I Was A Bird" and "The Village Of Cream Puffs."
These stories have no tape marks at all.