Funny you should ask ... Tim Gamble

What is one of your favorite children's stories?

A bit of an ambiguous question, wouldn’t you say, favorite as a child or as an adult? Or perhaps one of your favorite child’s stories. In any event, I could probably respond with the same answer.

Growing up in the “fifties” and having older siblings, I found myself up to my eyebrows in Golden Books. I don’t remember any of them. What I do remember is a particular book my mother gave me for my sixth birthday. She said that the little boy in the book reminded her of me. It was about a boy who made up his own world, including the people he met along the way.

She said I would often go to some faraway place, detached from my surroundings, playing with this, that, or the other in my mind. She would ask me what I was thinking about. Sometimes I’d tell her, but more often than not I’d say, “Why, who wants to know?” She’d say, “Don’t ever change.” She told me that no matter what people say, or do you must remember to stick to your guns, because you’ll soon learn that you’re right and the world’s all wrong. In reflection, that kind of thinking seems a little obstinate. As it turns out, she was more right than wrong.

My father told me later in life that the best thing he liked about me was that I could entertain myself. I didn’t know whether or not to be insulted, but he explained that with five kids and one lap, the math never worked out and somebody was always in tears about it. And that, while my brothers and sister were always jockeying for position, I was quite content to play in the corner with my blocks.

When I was much older, in my mid-forties, and had a child of my own. My wife and I were shopping in a bookstore in downtown Denver at The Tattered Cover, and she was looking for a particular book. I don’t recall which one it was, but I found myself in the children’s book section. There it was on the shelf just begging me to come play. I bought the book to give to my 5-year-old … or maybe I just bought the book because it gave me a quiet smile. Either way, my son and I would read that book again and again. With me it was easy, one child, one lap.

The book, you may have guessed by now, was “Harold and the Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson.

Tim
Tim at 7-years-old


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