Today’s blog post is my second time to participate in “Rae’s Reads and Reviews Blog” #TwoForTuesday blog post prompts. I learned about it in her January 8, 2019 blog post: https://educatednegra.blog/2019/01/08/two-for-tuesday-prompts/comment-page-1/#comment-1646.
My third grade teacher, Miss Ruth Jarrell, was a soft-spoken woman with beautiful handwriting. When a student asked Miss Jarrell how long she’d been teaching, she said that was her 13th year. We thought she was ancient if she’d been a teacher that long. It was only when I was in my mid-30s that I realized I was as old as Miss Jarrell had been when she taught me. Thirty-five no longer seemed old.
Another thing I remember Miss Jarrell for was her reading to us. If we behaved in the school cafeteria, she would read to us when we returned to our classroom after lunch.
White Squaw: The True Story of Jennie Wiley, by Arville Wheeler
The book Miss Jarrell read to us that is still vivid in my memory was White Squaw: The True Story of Jennie Wiley, by Arville Wheeler. Jennie was abducted by Native Americans in 1789 in Bland County, Virginia and taken to Kentucky. After almost a year in captivity, Jennie escaped and was helped back to her husband in Virginia.
The word “squaw” is offensive to us today, but since the word is part of the book’s title, I decided to write about it anyway. Any book that one has fond memories of more than 50 years after hearing it read deserves recognition.
Teachers never know which seeds they plant in their students’ minds will take root and flourish. It was only when I was thinking about today’s topic that I realized White Squaw was my introduction to historical fiction. Miss Jarrell didn’t live to see me pursue a career as a writer of history and historical fiction.
Follow the River: A Novel Based on the True Ordeal of Mary Ingles, by James Alexander Thom
Twenty or more years ago, Janie Snell, a friend of mine who lives in Ohio, recommended that I read Follow the River, by James Alexander Thom. It is a novel based on the experiences of Mary Ingles – not to be confused with Mary Ingles Wilder of Little House on the Prairie fame.
This Mary Ingles lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She was kidnapped by Shawnee Native Americans in 1755. After being held captive for months, she escaped her captors and by herself followed the Ohio, Kanawha, and New Rivers back to her home.
It is merely coincidental that White Squaw and Follow the River are about white women who were abducted by Native Americans in the 1700s. They are the two books that instilled in me a love of books – a love of reading.
If allowed to name four books
If today’s blog topic prompt had been “Four Books That Helped Me Fall in Love with Reading,” the other two I would have written about would have been Roots, by Alex Haley and Centennial, by James A. Michener.
Three of the four books I’ve mentioned today were read when I was an adult. It was as an adult that I started reading fiction. As a young adult, I was a snob – a nonfiction snob. I thought reading fiction was a waste of time. When I had time to read for pleasure, I wanted to read something true, something real.
I have to laugh at my old self. I still enjoy an occasional history or political science book, but now I prefer fiction. My sister thinks it’s hilarious that I’m now trying to write fiction after all those years of turning my nose up at fiction and the people who read it.
Since my last blog post
I’m relieved that the glitch I was dealing with when I prepared yesterday’s blog post has been resolved, so I was able to include images in today’s post.
Let’s continue the conversation
Which two books helped you fall in love with reading?