Every day after lunch in Mrs. Hunt's fourth grade class
we returned from recess and sat at our desks and listened
to her read aloud to us from a story book (which happened
to be The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford). I don't remember
the sound of her voice. Or if she was sitting or standing. Or the sound
of her turning the pages. Just the pleasure of listening to her read a story.
The chance to use my imagination to conjure pictures out of words.
To wrap myself in the magic of a story. That was years ago, decades, and
I still remember sitting at my desk in her fourth grade class after lunch
listening to her reading to us--to me--and feeling a mysterious vibration
as strong as an invisible electrical current pass through the classroom
from her to us as she shared her love of words and stories. And now,
years later, I wish I could tell her that I remember her reading to us,
and how those moments in her class were filled with the secret pleasure
that only stories can provide. She's long gone now, but in my memory
she is still reading aloud to us, still teaching us things like the nature of love
and devotion, subjects that weren't part of the curriculum, still taking the time
to convey to us the value of words, the magic of stories, and the power of love.