Back in the 1960s it wasn’t hard to get your child into school early, especially if your child demonstrated reading skills. So, my parents put me in the first grade a year early. I was given my first “reader,” and I thought that it was mine! I was so excited. I put it in my booksack, and I took it home with me. I would read the stories before I went to bed at night. I took my book to the teacher, Mrs. Easley, and asked if we were going to read every story in the book. She told me, “We probably won’t reach the end of the book by the end of the year.” The stories at the back of the book were fairy tales. There were sweet illustrations of fairies in those stories. One in particular stands out in my mind, a little fairy asleep in a flower with a petal covering her for a blanket.
Well, I read those stories on my own! I was not going to be cheated!
My grandmother and I were outside working in her garden one day when she asked me, “Laura, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
To which I quickly replied, “A fairy! I want to be a fairy, have wings, and sleep half-naked in the flowers!”
I wished that you could see the horrified look that crept across my strict Southern -Baptist grandmother’s face! She was so shocked.
She quietly gulped and said, “Laura! What ever gave you the idea that you could be a fairy? You are a human child. You will grow up to be a human adult.Besides, there are no fairies. They aren’t real!”
I told her, “Grandma, in the back of my reader there are stories about fairies. There are pictures, too. One sleeps in the flowers, and I want to do that too!”
She laughed, and the sparkle came back to her eyes. I then told her that the fairy wore something like one of my mother’s chemises to sleep in, and I wanted to just live in something that pretty!”
Well, I didn’t grow up to be a fairy, but I still enjoy fairy tales!