COLUMN: 'Potter' books read by my grandmother opened up a new world
The soft, carpeted steps below my feet turned to stone with each step I took.
Down into my inviting and comfortable basement I went. The longer I looked, the more it morphed into a dark corridor. The knob was gone on the door to the guest bedroom where my grandmother resided. There was a portrait of a fat woman singing opera in its place, subsequently asking for a password.
“Banana Fritters,” I said as the fat lady swung the portrait open. The room was no longer a comfortable bedroom but a common room filled with chairs and couches all directed toward a beautiful and brightly lit fireplace. My grandmother sat on a couch facing the fire, book in hand, beckoning me to the spot beside her by gently tapping the empty cushion.
Or at least that’s how I saw the guest bedroom in my house when my grandmother visited when I was seven years old.
For every visit my grandmother made to my house, I would wander down the stairs to the guest room. She would pat the spot beside her in the bed while waving “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” above her head. I would leap into bed, quickly curling up beside her, as she began to read where we left off on her previous visit. I would sit for hours listening to the story of the “Boy Who Lived.”
I loved following along, reading the text silently as the power in her voice told the magical tale. Other times, I would watch the smile lines crease and the stress wrinkles scrunch up as the story changed. The excitement in her eyes and voice instilled a love for the novel and series. Each day my grandmother was not at my house, I would crave to hear the rest of the book. I would grab the book off the shelf and attempt to read it to myself. It would take me twice as long as it took her to read the pages. My imagination was not able to wander to the vivid corridors and the magic disappeared. I always attempted it, but I could not have that same experience without her.
My reading level began to go beyond my age with each page that passed. She led me to see the power of the written word and infused her love for it into me.
I began to read more often then ever before. I would pick up every book I could get my hands on.
My grandmother passed away before we were able to finish the story. A few years later, I picked it up and was finally able to finish it. The love for the story still remained, even though I thought it never would.
I quickly read the books in the series that were out at the time, and as anticipation grew for each new book that would come out, I would be reminded of the mornings she and I would spend curled up in bed reading.
I found other books to pass the time while waiting for the new books to be published. Yet, nothing compared to the “Harry Potter” series in my mind. No other book took me to quite another world, or as deep into my own imagination.
They hold a special place in my heart. Each winter, I’ll pick the first book up, sit by the fire and read through it with the same thrill it held the first time I read it.