I’ve been getting back to my roots with a stroll through Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Jane of Lantern Hill. It’s as good as — or better than — I remember it. At age 11, it was my very first Lucy Maud book. I stayed up late reading it, hunched over the night-light in the bedroom on Forsyth Avenue.
I also read it during daylight hours, swinging back and forth on the porch swing in the screened-in wrap-around porch (complete with ceiling fan if I remember correctly — quite the dream porch if you ask me). We were guests in that house, and its pantry gave me my first introduction to V8 juice, which I would drink while reading on the swing.
Years later, and just before his own father died, my husband gave me a covered porch swing as a surprise birthday present. He knew I’d always wanted one. And I cherished that gift. I would sit on it and watch my kids play in the yard. I would sit on it and read science magazines and natural childbirth books and home school catalogs. I would sit on it and talk to my husband during the at-home dates we would manage to steal after tucking our kids into bed — winter, spring, summer, or fall.
It was with great difficulty that I parted from that swing the year we moved to Cambodia. And to this day, when my man wants to show me he loves me, he buys me a can of V8 — the search for which can sometimes be quite the treasure hunt in Phnom Penh.
These are the legacies of Lucy Maud and of the innocent joys of a childhood well-spent.
photo credit: Library of Congress
My blogging friend and fellow Third Culture Kid Marilyn Gardner encouraged me to take this TCK story, which was originally a Facebook status, and turn it into a blog post.