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When I read the first writing prompt provided in today's Writing @ Reading Day 1 post, I knew that it would be the one that I would be able to respond to with the most passion. If you are frequent reader of this blog, then this story may not be new to you . . . but I encourage you to read on anyways! One cannot give enough praise to a book that has had a great impact on you!
Who was the first person from a book (real or imagined) that you wanted to be when you were a child? Why?
It is not one person that comes to mind when I hear this question, but rather a group of people . . . four young siblings, in fact. When we are first introduced to these children, they are hungry and searching for a place to eat and sleep for the night. They are alone, without parents; however, they are not truly alone because they have one another. They find some food for the night and a place to sleep, but when the owners of a bakery threaten to ship one of them off and work the others for free labor, they devise a plan to sneak off into the night and once again survive on their own. They eventually find their own home in an abandoned boxcar, the oldest finds work to support his family, and they learn to live off the bare essentials and be happy.
As an adult, I have re-read this book a multitude of times . . . on my own and to both of my children when they were infants. The magic is still there. I really don't know what the power was about this book, or what it still is, though I have my theories as a wiser and more mature adult. I tend to lean towards the independence these children had . . . the ability to go to bed when they pleased, being able to earn their keep and not have to report to an adult, to know that their contribution mattered. As a true latch-key kid, I was often left alone after school, having to fend for myself. I could relate! Then again, I also had to wonder if it really came down to the relationships. I was an only child. I often wondered what it was like to have that special sibling bond. I had my cousins, an aunt, and an uncle that practically lived with us during different times of the year, but never a full-time, true sibling. I even look at my children now and envy the relationship they have (even during the bickering and fighting!). It's a special bond that I will never know, but while reading The Boxcar Children, I could almost imagine that I was one of those sisters.
When it comes down to it, I think I wanted to be an independent sister . . . and these children filled that need! Thank you to Gertrude Chandler Warner for raising those characters, which in turn helped to raise me!