Early Influences

The Bumper Book written by Watty Piper and illustrated by Eulalie was first published in 1946. The next publication date I could find was 1952. My sister was born in 1949 and I was born in 1951. My mother purchased one of these editions for her girls. The Bumper Book was an anthology of stories, poems, A,B,C’s and 1,2,3’s. This book was one that I claimed as a young adult. I have had it ever since.

Looking at this book over the years has always been a treat. The illustrations just blow me away. As I got older and had my own children I realized that I didn’t want this book to be closed and put away. The illustrations were just too beautiful. I studied the book many times before choosing which illustrations to frame. I really did agonize over my decisions because to choose an illustration meant the picture on the back would never been seen again. Framing would also mean that I would have to dismantle a book! I felt like I was committing a crime. However, the framed pictures are beautiful and I get to see them every day.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss was first published in 1957.  Our Mom purchased it for us. The other books that I still have in my possession are If I Ran the Zoo, Horton Hears a Who, McElligot’s Pool and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. I can’t imagine how these books must have been perceived when they first came on the market. My sister and I are still amazed that Mom bought them. Our idea is that Dr. Seuss’s books must have looked fairly radical for the times and our Mom was not radical or whimsical but then again maybe she was! My sister and I cherish them.

To round out our pre-Kindergarten education my parents also subscribed to a children’s music series. The music was recorded on 78’s. Some of them were educational but most of them were just fun. They each had a paper dust cover with appropriate art work on the front. A couple of the covers are embellished with early drawings by my sister which I love. One of those covers will definitely be framed as well. The good news is that a few years ago Restoration Hardware had a suitcase-like record player which plays 78’s, 45’s and 33⅓’s so my kids and I listen to them at Christmas time.

I treasure these artifacts of early childhood and that includes my sister. (She is 60 years old!)


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