One of my neighbors died this morning. I didn’t know her very well, despite living across the street from her for almost 14 years. I did know that she liked to read Harlequin romance novels. I know this because she is the person who gave me my first romance novel. Actually, she gave me a bag full of romance novels.
During my freshman year of high school, my family decided to have a yard sale and I had a table of books that I was trying to sell. When my neighbor saw me, she brought over a bunch of her books that she didn’t want any more because she did not like to re-read books. She told me that if I couldn’t sell them that I could keep them and being the God awful salesperson that I am I didn’t sell a thing. At the time, I wasn’t into reading, having only really read the first Harry Potter book a couple of years earlier, but for some reason I went through those books. My mother didn’t care what I read as long as it wasn’t a Sidney Sheldon because she said they were too graphic for a 14 year old to read. Once I picked up that first romance novel, I was a goner. I read on the bus, in the cafeteria, and waiting for class to begin. It was a surprise to everyone who knew me because I hated books and was known to write down names of books I hadn’t read in order to get my BookIt pin and the free Pizza Hut pan pizza that went with it. I was not the girl that got lost in books. Not like I am now, and I owe that to my neighbor. May she rest in peace.