By Lloyd Graff
I remember virtually nothing from my early childhood. I sometimes think I was born when I was five years old. My parents told me that I did not talk until I was three. They actually thought I was retarded.
But I do remember one thing quite vividly from my early years—my mother performing dramatic readings in dialect for my sister and I in the park. She would pack a picnic lunch, we would go outside, and she would read stories, doing several voices like it was a radio performance. Her favorite was about an immigrant mother taking children to an amusement park. I had never been to such a place but she made it come alive for me.
She didn’t read from a kid’s storybook. She had a green colored “elocution” folio of short plays, and I can still feel her joy and energy when she got into character and delivered the lines to me and my sister Susan sitting in rapt attention.
When I was an adult my mother told me that those readings were a highlight of her parenting, and she cherished the yellowing books of readings as mementos of a happy time for her.
I did not do dramatic readings for my children, but I did make up stories and recount events from my own childhood. I’m starting to do it now for my granddaughters.
Kids may say they want the newest toy or doll or video game, but I think it’s the stories and the joy that will make a lasting happy imprint.
Question: What stories do you remember from your childhood?
Peter Falk reads to Fred Savage in the film The Princess Bride