Every love story has a beginning. A chance meeting, a first date, or an introduction that forever alters the course of our lives.
When I was very young – perhaps 4 or 5 years of age – my beloved grandma babysat me while my mom worked and my older sisters went to school. My grandma. I called her Bacca. She chewed Doublemint gum, smoked Pall Mall cigarettes, and always had a spare tissue rolled into the cuff of her sleeve. She was, without a doubt, my favorite companion.
As I grew older, my Bacca would teach me how to play many card games and give me that first fateful puff of a cigarette. But here – at the age of 4 or 5 – she gave me something else, a gift so precious and important it forever changed my life. I’ve since given the gift to my own daughters.
She gave me the love of reading.
On our days alone together, Bacca read and read and read to me. She never tired of it, nor did I. We read and reread every picture book in the house and then we started all over and read them again. I had heard these books so many times, I could recite them. And I did. Soon enough, I was reading to Bacca. She would listen contentedly (while enjoying a Pall Mall, I’m sure) while I recited book after book. By the time I got to kindergarten, I had “broken the code”, as they say. I was a reader.
My love affair with reading started with my Bacca.
And we lived happily ever after.