Growing up books were a big part of the Maine home my three older brothers and I lived in.
One wall of a den was nothing but one big book case filled with extensive collections of everything from philosophers to economic principles to spiritual writings. My Mom and Dad enjoyed, learned much from books. And shared what they learned around the supper table, on picnics, working the farm with each of us on different tasks growing up.
In the upstairs hall room more book cases with a variety of
encyclopedia sets, other resource materials to help the four boys in their education inside the Maine farm home.
We learned our most valuable lessons outside on the Maine farm. Laboring with parents who we saw through out the work day, all four seasons. Or from talks on the glass front sun porch or in a pair of rocking chairs in the farm house kitchen in front of a wood cook stove radiating heat. Each of the four bedrooms in the home had bookcases too. That each of us boys added to as we grew taller. To supplement the books our parents stocked each bookcase with depending on our interests, hobbies.
This summer with ENS settling in and new routines, reading more books on a variety of subjects has been an eye opener. In the books from the farm, pictures, handwritten notes, underlined passages show me I am on the path of the reader before me, my parents.
Even though both have passed on, I continue to learn more from the two that raised me, my three older brothers.
Dad was an economic agriculture major from the University of Maine at Orono. Completing his college degree after flying World War Two missions in the tail end of a B-24 bomber plane. Mom earning a college degree in business from Becker College which was invaluable with the enterprises both entered in to as a team.
I just completed Stephen King’s Full Dark, No Stars, a three long story work from the Bangor Maine author. And from the farm the shuttle of books has me munching on C.S. Lewis’s “The Four Loves.” Here is an excerpt from this 1960’s literary work.
“Affection produces happiness if – and only if – there is common sense and give and take and “decency”.
In other words, only if something more, and other, than Affection is added. The mere feeling is not enough. You need “common sense”, that is, reason. You need “give and take”; that is, you need justice, continually stimulating mere Affection when it fades and restraining it when it forgets or would defy the art of love. You need “decency.” There is not disguising the fact that this means goodness; patience, self denial, humility, and the continual intervention of a far higher sort of love than Affection, in itself, can ever be. That is the whole point. If we try to live by Affection, alone, Affection will “go bad on us”.
And on C.S. Lewis expounds further… “Friendship is – in a sense not at all derogatory to it – the least natural of loves; the least instinctive, organic, biological, gregarious and necessary. It has least commerce with our nerves; there is nothing throaty about it; nothing that quickens the pulse or turns you red and pale. It is essentially between individuals; the moment two are friends they have in some degree drawn apart from the herd.
Without Eros none of us would have been begotten and without Affection none of us would have been reared; but we can live and breed without Friendship.
The species, biologically considered, has no need of it. The pack or herd – the community – may even dislike and distrust it. Its leaders very often do. Headmasters and Headmistresses and Heads of religious communities, colonels and ships’ captains, can feel uneasy when close and strong friendships arise between little knots of their subjects”.
Learning from a good set of parents that prepared the four boys for life, taking the time to share what they had learned. And placing books in our hands, at our disposal in the Maine home to continue that family education even after they died. Thanks Mom and Dad. Happy Memorial Day. Maine, a great state to be a kid, be raised in and taught to take nothing for granted. To appreciate everything, everyone around us that we need to get along with to learn from, illuminate the path of our life.