Lois Lowry's Blog


Maine days

Posted by Lois Lowry
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on Sunday, 05 June 2011 in Uncategorized

I head back to Cambridge tomorrow, to prepare for the memorial celebration next weekend (friends coming from as far away as Minnesota, California, Florida!) but it has been a lovely few days here, with friends for dinner Thursday night...

Rhubarb pudding

Here is a rhubarb bread pudding which was delicious for dessert. (Dinner was baked salmon stuffed with fennel).

And my brother is with me. (Here he is):

  Jon in kitchen

Everyone should have a meticulous brother who likes to fix things. Martin was a great guy and a wonderful companion but not Mr. Fixit. (My friend Susan refers to such men affectionately as "Jews with Tools")  Jon has busied himself at the Cambridge house and now, in Maine, he has taken on the problem of the old butcher block in the kitchen and its many years of accumulated crud. After solvents, sandpaper, elbow grease, and mineral oil:

  Butcher block

Not to mention the new flat screen TV that son Ben and his partner Lori gave me for my birthday, installed here at the farm...Ben left me instructions for several remotes which left me whimpering. No problem, said Jon. He has now combined everything on one remote so that even I, when I am alone here, which I will be for most of this summer, will be able to find things and watch things and mute things. Or so I hope and assume.

(But could my brother recall—and sing—the words to all the old Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, the way Martin could?  Nope, no way)


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Jenny Monday, 29 November 1999

My 7 year old reads with a flashlight every night. She sleeps in the top bunk and the room is mostly dark for her little sister to go to sleep. We don't (at least not too often) tell her to turn off her flashlight and go to sleep, but she does use one every night.
I don't remember ever doing so as a child, but I don't think anyone ever forced me to stop reading either. It seems like a fun thing to do though and I'm glad my daughter has the opportunity. I'm not sure why, but I am.

Naomi Monday, 29 November 1999

I never read under the covers with a flashlight, either, because my parents were extremely stingy with batteries (probably in part because they did not want me up until 2 a.m. reading every night.)
My kids have done this, though. The result is that I can never EVER find flashlights when I need them because my children make off with them and then lose them under their beds.
(In the summer months they can just read by daylight. It doesn't get dark until almost 10 p.m. in MN in June and July.)

Portia Pennington Monday, 29 November 1999

I think you may be onto something! Actually...I have read under the covers with a flashlight far more as an adult--prior to the invention (or at least, my purchase) of the booklight, and even AFTER the booklight (because I never can seem to find it!). And you are so right--it is absolutely the most uncomfortable way to read, especially when you have to wear glasses! Blow the cover off this in true 60 Minutes style!

ZNZ Monday, 29 November 1999

I've never read under the covers with a flashlight. It does sound uncomfortable.

Clementine Monday, 29 November 1999

Hehe, sorry. I ALWAYS read under the cover with a flashlight :) Almost every night!

Ellen Booraem Monday, 29 November 1999

My parents were anal about bedtimes, and I absolutely read under the covers with a flashlight. I swear. Really. I don't remember it being that hard if you were lying on your side.
Nowadays, if I wake up in the middle of the night and don't want to wake The Man, I read with an LLBean headlamp, and it's true that would have been much, much easier.

Kristi Monday, 29 November 1999

I remember *trying* to as a kid, because it seemed like I ought to. It got stuffy in a hurry under there. From then on if I read with a flashlight, I did it outside the covers! (I grew up in earthquake country, so each of us had a flashlight under the bed in case we had an earthquake at night. I'm not sure it makes sense, but it's what we did.)

Jess S. Monday, 29 November 1999

If I did, it was because I read about other nerdy kids in books doing it. More likely: I opened my curtains and strained my eyes. I was one of those kids who gave grown-ups headaches because I would read by the tiniest glimmer of light (driving home from my grandmother's late at night on the dark highway, I would hold my book open and stare at it till a car passed us and I could read a snippet by the headlights.)

Betty Birney Monday, 29 November 1999

I never read in bed with a flashlight. I'm sure some did and others might just imagine they did. In my family, we all read in our respective beds every night. When I was learning to read, I'd call into my parents' bedroom and spell a word and my dad would call back to me with the word and we all kept on reading. I do remember walking around the house while I read and I bumped into furniture sometimes - ouch!

mtabb Monday, 29 November 1999

Dear Lois,
I did indeed read with a flashlight as my bedtime was 9:00. My mother confirms this is true and that she had to keep confiscating it. I did not however read under the covers (perhaps that is why I was caught so often). I turned on my side and lifted the pillow ever so slightly to position the flashlight and help to keep the book open.
You are one of my favorite authors of all time! I love reading snippets of your thoughts. Thanks for sharing them with your readers.

Alison Dorman Monday, 29 November 1999

I never read with a flashlight, but I may have tried to use the streetlight directly outside my window. We have them around in case of emergencies like earthquakes (we're in New Zealand but not Christchurch thankfully), so my 6 year old uses one. It doesn't occur to her to use it under the covers though; she sits up in bed reading with it lying next to the book, shining onto the page.

ojimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

When I was five or six, we could not afford a flashlight, or books. We kept a sealed box of Encyclopedia Britannica tomes that had been sent to us by my father from England, but we were not allowed to touch them in fear that we'd tear them up. Nevertheless, we (actually it was just me) would go under the bed with an inch-size piece of a candle (!!!) at night, pry open the box, unwrap a book quietly ( they came sealed in cellophane) and thumb through the pages in awe. Mostly looking at the pictures. The books were written in English and I could only read Spanish.

Jillian Monday, 29 November 1999

I never read with a flashlight either, because like you said I couldn't get my hands on one. However, I definitely read when I was supposed to be sleeping nearly every night; I just waited a few minutes and then turned on the large lamp beside my bed, somehow believing that my parents wouldn't notice the light streaming under the door (they almost always did). Then again, a large floor lamp is a lot harder to confiscate than a flashlight, so maybe it wasn't completely crazy...

Becky Levine Monday, 29 November 1999

Now you made me think. I don't actually remember the flashlight or even staying up later than I was allowed to read. I know there WAS bedtime. I think I must have made up for it all by spending every other free hour of the day with a book. :)

Rosemary Monday, 29 November 1999

I also remember trying it because characters in books always did it, and found it way too stuffy and uncomfortable. I did read with a flashlight outside of the covers occasionally, but generally got in trouble when my parents found out. :)

lace Monday, 29 November 1999

I don't think I read with a flashlight under the covers as a child either. I had a lamp and don't remember being told to turn off the lights while reading every night. I guess because my mother was also reading in her bed. I have used a flashlight to read by as an adult. Very hard to balance the flashlight and hold the book at the same time. I prefer my book light; when I can find it.

Clay Monday, 29 November 1999

I am at summer camp in Wisconsin with my son's Boy Scout troop and have been reading Hunger Games by flashlight. I can only muster a couple of pages before I fall asleep but I remember reading by flashlight as a kid. My parents had a strict lights out policy - or at least my dad did... I remmeber stuffing a towell under the crack in the door and still getting caught. One night I thought I was clever and used the red filter and you guessed it I got caught and had my flashlight confiscated. I don't think it was about the reading as much as it was I should have been sleeping and it was a control thing... but yeah, I read by flashlight as a kid, and still do. I am just grateful for the camping flashlight you can strap to your head!

Kat D. Monday, 29 November 1999

I definitely read with a flashlight! And now, and my heart gives a grateful leap for this, I catch my son reading by the light of his handheld games if he can't find a flashlight.

Emily Monday, 29 November 1999

Reading with my whole body completely under the covers always got too hot. I used to lie on my side with the covers up to my shoulders, place the book just under the covers, and train the flashlight on it that way. The covers functioned more like a giant lampshade than a tent.

Jude Monday, 29 November 1999

I used a flashlight. Before I started staying up late to watch Dick Cavett, I was staying up late to read. It was a horribly uncomfortable thing to do, but seemed necessary. We went to midnight bookstore parties for two of the Harry Potter releases, and my son started reading by flashlight as soon as we got in the car; then we'd set up a tent in the living room and he'd continue reading by flashlight in the tent.

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