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Our beloved Carol Miller, author of Lola’s Luck: My Life Among the California Gypsies and The Church of Cheese, sent us this reflection on the written word’s impact from her childhood.

Here’s to the world of books and magazines that flew me to other worlds and opened my mind. I must have been in second grade when I found a Children’s Playmate Magazine (part of Jack and Jill, now) at the corner newsstand. I ran home to ask my mother for the 15 cents to buy it, and, feeling quite adult, returned in triumph with my purchase. The back page had a Native American paper doll that I treasured and never cut out.

We lived on the fifth floor of the hotel my father managed. The birth of my sisters, only a year apart, was keeping Mother too busy for our former shopping expeditions, or to take me to the park, or to read me stories or poems; “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” had been our favorite. Until I discovered the escape of reading to myself, I was perpetually bored and longing for adventure and stimulation. I remember watching the slow climb of the hands of the clock on the wall and the growing feeling of nausea as noon approached. Why noon? I don’t remember.

I do remember vomiting. No wonder Mother put me in first grade when I was five.

Books, still the antidote!

Thank you, Carol, for all the books you’ve read and written!