Thursday, August 29, 2013

Aug 29, 2013::a memory in a meadow

Last week I was catching up on some blogs I follow. Ginny, from Small Things, posted about one of her favorite children's books, We Were Tired of Living in a House, by Doris Burn. In the end, she lamented the fact that the book is no longer in print, but that another book by the same author is available and worth a read...Andrew Henry's Meadow.

As soon as I read the name of this book, memories came flooding back...memories of the book, and especially the illustrations.

I have no memory of the circumstances surrounding me reading this book. Did I own it or borrow it from the library. Did I read it over and over or did I just love it so much that one time that it stuck with me all these years? I have no idea.

But I do remember the illustrations. Every detail. Oh, how I wanted to jump right into the pages!

You see, Andrew Henry was a "Maker" before "Makers" were cool. Left alone with his creativity, he built contraptions all over the house. His parents and siblings found his hobby silly and annoying. With nowhere else to work, he packed his tools and some supplies and headed off to a meadow he knew; one where he could build a house of his own.

Oh how I wanted to live in that house!

Then, other kids start showing up...with the trappings of their own inconvenient, messy hobbies. Birds, drums, boats, and frogs. Andrew Henry built each new kid a place of his or her own. A place to be themselves.

The end is very satisfying for someone like myself, who still dreams of running away and having a little place to just make something.

And now, I am blessed with a son whose projects cover every flat surface in the house.

We put a dining room table in his new room. It is covered with just-begun Lego models, and paint brushes caked in watercolors, and boats modeled from play dough.

Just today (maybe inspired by Andrew Henry), I set up a studio in the garage where his projects can stay when in progress and his plans can be drawn and left up for quick reference.

Right now there is a cardboard Titanic in progress in the living room, a pile of paper icebergs in the den, a
model begun on the design software on my computer, and he is quietly sketching lifeboats in the sun room as I write.

I bought the book as a little gift for myself. I still daydream about the eagle's cage in the living room and the merry-go-round made from a sewing machine. I shared the story with my little maker. He claimed the book as his own.

My fantasy life Andrew Henry is real...and I love it. Maybe I will build my own place in his meadow.


No comments: