Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Horton! has Horton. As a child, I had two Dr. Seuss books...Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches an Egg. I read them, but I didn't quite "get" them and so I didn't like them very much. To be honest, I often thought of them as second-best. What I really coveted was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. The elementary school librarian read it to us once during story hour and I was hooked. Besides, the Horton books were used. I don't even know how we came to own them...were they hand-me-downs from my mother's childhood? a garage sale purchase? I have no idea. But they had worn corners and stained covers without shiny library dustcovers. So I always dissed Horton in favor of those crinkly dust-covered library copies of One Fish.

I don't think I ever asked to BUY other Dr. Seuss books. In fact, I'm sure I didn't. It wasn't really kosher to ask to buy things in our house, unless it was a special occasion like your birthday or Christmas...and so wish lists were always too long to include boring and mundane things like books (especially when we had a very active library card and a mom who would take us to the library just about any time we asked). My father had an unwritten rule that anything you wanted to buy had to be justified by some underlying purpose. It wasn't enough that you might want to own make it yours. He would have laughed at the idea of owning a book for the pure pleasure of maintaining it in my own personal library. I personally think that's one of the reasons why my mother began reading romance novels and collecting them...just to piss off my father in her own quietly defiant way (which, by the way, makes me giggle).

But I digress...

So Horton sat in my corner bookshelf, virtually untouched for many many years. I went to college and my old purple bedroom was converted into an office. I got married and moved in with Steve. But the bookshelf remained in that corner with a few treasures still inside. Horton was one of them.

Years went by and mom finally decided to clean out the old bookshelf so she could store her own books and knick knacks in it. She called and asked if I wanted any of the books she had found. Horton was among them.

I've spent many adult years now, asking for and receiving Dr. Seuss books for birthdays and Christmases. I've built up quite the collection...including my very own copy of One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (that my son LOVES above all other Dr. Seuss books). But the opportunity to bring Horton home to my bookshelf again...that made my collection perfect. Despite still being many many many books short of a complete Dr. Seuss set, I've got Horton back. I hope one day to pass him on to Samuel to read to his children. I think I might have to buy the doll to pass on as well.

Horton represents more to me than Dr. Seuss. He represents a lesson learned...the value of shared memories. Dusting off old stories and enjoying them with new ears. Loving what is in front of you, even when you can't enjoy it for your own foolish reasons. Or maybe realizing foolish reasons and doing your best to avoid them so you don't miss a good thing while you have it.

I love Horton.

Oh, who am I kidding...I'll buy the doll for myself.


Heather said...

I love Horton too. As a matter of fact, I bought the book and movie of Horton Hears a Who or my girls. :)

Enjoy the doll.

Sarah said...

Horton has a special place in my heart too. We performed it as a play in the fifth grade. I was an eagle, responsible for relocating the dust speck. I still remember the song we had to sing. Ah, the good ole days.