A favorite companion in the group study my children and I do each day is what we call our "Little Red Poem Book." It has been called that since I was little when my mother read from it to her five children. I'll be devastated if I can't find a red, hardback version for my children when they leave the nest (it's actually called, One Hundred And One Famous Poems and published by Contemporary Books, copyright 1958 if anyone wants to know). There is a unique pleasure in opening the book, flipping through to see which old friend I want to read again, looking at the notes scrawled in the margins, reading the inscription from my mother when she gave it to me on my sixteenth birthday:
"Thought my precious 16-year-old patch rabbit would enjoy her very own copy of our "little red poem book" . . . We've created lots of family memories with this little book, haven't we? Continue discovering new treasures in it and keep all our memories close to your heart."
We did create many memories, Marmee. I do keep them close. I do discover new treasures, even in the old friends - like this week.
I hadn't read "The Building of the Ship" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow since before I was married. As I started reading to my children, I found that life's experiences since last reading had given me memories that illuminated the meaning of the poem on a deeper level than before. It's like AHK says: