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  My Mom Fed Me the World
A retired English teacher, Susan Dlugach just cannot retire from learning, tutoring, writing, traveling and exploring.

My mom, blessed be her memory, travelled via novels borrowed from the library, and she passed that love of literacy onto me.

When I was a homebound seventh grader spotted with measles, she trudged to the local library and searched the shelves for a cure to the boredom caused by my isolation. In that stack of books she set in my room was John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath. It was a novel, she told me conspiratorially, that "my friend's mother wouldn't let her read when we were in high school,

Oooh …. That was the first book I huddled with as I recuperated. Salaciously, I turned each page, devouring words like a starving hyena. By the end, even though it was a page-turner of a story, I was disappointed not to discover the reason a mother would not allow her child to read this. Where was the naughty?


Mom also introduced me to Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, among others. We shared literary interests until she died. Like the summer, she stayed with me when my kids were pre-schoolers and I'd gotten my hands on Alice Walker's The Color Purple. I'd be reading it, then put it down to take care of laundry or some other task, but when I came back, the book was in her hands and her eyes were stuck inside those pages.

Then she'd put it down for a bathroom break and I'd snatch it up, not releasing it until I had to. We continued back and forth with the book until we each finished reading it, and finished it all too soon. That's the way good books do us—leaving us craving more.

My mom both fed and encouraged that worldly hunger.

~ Susan Dlugach










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