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The Boxcar Children

I just re-read my favorite book from childhood, The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. And all the way through I smiled and remembered why I loved it so much and how much it influenced me. The four orphaned siblings weren’t helpless and hopeless. They figured things out and got on with it. They were clever and creative, found a place to live, gathered worn out kitchen utensils and beat up furniture from a local dump, and repaired them. They made beds out of pine needles, adopted a stray dog, dammed up a brook for swimming, gathered firewood to build fires for cooking. Henry, the oldest among them, went into town and did odd jobs to buy food, and Jessie, the older girl, proved to be a resourceful cook. The doctor Henry worked for was kind and welcoming to them all. It sparked an entire series of children’s books so it certainly captured more attention than just my own. As for that red cover with its silhouette of them all, it’s an image I’ve always remembered with great fondness.

Funny that many years of hindsight allows you to read something from long ago and see it in a new light. Art does touch you in different ways at different times of your life. And reading this book did the trick. The floodgate has opened, and I’ve read three books since then.

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