How fitting that when I opened up my Blogger role, the first story was a post from the LA Review of Books Blog called The Books That Made Us: Charlotte's Web. The last couple of evenings, my housemate and I have stared outside freaking out over the spiders that are living in our backyard. My other housemate, B, loves them. He's always telling us that they eat those mosquitos that are now plaguing our neighborhood and spreading West Nile (which is another post all together).
The post was accompanying a review of Michael Sims' The Story of Charlotte's Web, which I have just added to my wishlist. I have enjoyed reading the other authors remembrances about when they first read Charlotte's Web. So, I thought, I would share my little remembrance about it.
I spent a lot of time in the library at George Dewey Elementary School. Mr. Frank was our school librarian and he was always aware of the types of books we were reading and ready to make suggestions. My Auntie Femi worked there too as the library assistant so you know, we couldn't get into any mischief. I was in 4th grade and one of my nerdy aspirations was to read as many books as I could from the library. I really loved books about with animals because what I really wanted to be was a veterinarian. So, I thought, if I read all the animal books I could, I could tap into what they were thinking. Even if it was a fiction book. What did I know? I was just a kid who loved to read.
Wandering around the stacks one day, Mr. Frank stopped me and handed me this book, a little girl on the cover, holding a small pig. The words "Charlotte's Web" written in a spider's web. That was it. That was all I needed to see. I checked out the book, writing my first name in 4th grade scrawl. I took the book home, walking the few blocks to our house and just holed up on our old rocking recliner for the next few hours reading.
I never liked spiders or pigs. But this story definitely made me appreciate them more. I don't kill them though. Also, I just learned from Headphonerecord that if you see a spider in the evening it's good luck.
"Villiers noted that in France during the 1920s, "the sight of a spider in the house is not fortunate in the forenoon, but if you see it in the afternoon, you may certainly expect a present, the value of the gift increasing according to the lateness of the hour." from Lucky Mojo
So spiders and pigs..thanks to E.B. White and Charlotte's Web, I will leave you alone and appreciate your webs and hunting skills.