Often when I read, I think the book I’m reading is a reflection of what is in my soul when I find myself agreeing with the writer. Just lately, I’ve found myself speaking aloud my protestations against items in the news. Today was no exception when I heard that politicians are once again meddling with the examinations that will mean so much to the lives of our young people. Long ago, when I was young, we knew we had to pass our school-leaving certificate, then, soon after World War II, the Meddling Matties got busy and started the long list of changes that has gone on ever since.
The results have been falling standards in literacy and all things to do with education. I don’t mean only academia either; I mean all things related to what is regarded as the education of young people in their preparation for life. There once was a subject called Domestic Science which helped girls in particular gain a useful knowledge of all that might help her feed and keep her family healthy. I not only learned to cook, but also learned the right and the wrong way to do simple tasks around the house.
Much that I learned was duplicated at home by my mother and father; being an only child, my mother demanded I learn all that a girl might need to know, while my father, having caught me messing about with an electric light switch and witnessed my giving myself a nasty electric shock, insisted I learned the right way to go about things. The results were to save me a great deal of money because I was never afraid to tackle most DIY jobs around the home, and gained even greater personal satisfaction on completing a good job whether it involved cutting out and sewing a garment, or sawing wood to put up new shelving.
And that is where my love of books has paid off because having a passion for books has resulted in hundreds of them on my bookshelves; giving me access to almost any subject under the sun. With the help of books I have created garments to wear, prepared and cooked delicious food to eat, landscaped several gardens, decorated all six of my homes in various places here and abroad, and still, when I need to learn about something, or get away from it all, I have my books. They are the friends who may get a little older, a little shabbier, but never fail to comfort, even when what they have to say is as familiar as the face I see in a mirror.