Camping at Nickerson on Cape Cod, 1995 – Take Two
Besides losing and finding the girls (see previous blog), I have other memories of that camping trip at Nickerson State Park. One night Megg and Laura stayed with Gramma and Grampa to tell tales around the campfire while Mom and Dad went out to buy a new air mattress. Their mattress had developed a leak that we were unable to find and repair. Megg laid and started our fire (with a little help from Grampa) to demonstrate the campfire building skills she learned in Girl Scouts. I suppose we would have toasted marshmallows had they not been eaten the previous night by a raccoon. (More about the raccoon later.)
After Megg gave us an account of the plot of a book she had just read, Laura announced that she had a story too. She proceeded to tell an elaborate and detailed story that she prefaced with the information that it was the most celebrated legend of an Italian town whose name I no longer remember, but which she supplied at the time, and that the people there were still telling this tale. The complexity of the story, the amount of detail, and the vocabulary struck me as unusual for a six year old. Steve and Kathi read to the girls regularly, so I assumed it was from a book they had read to her. After we put the girls to bed and their parents returned, I asked about this story. Neither of them had ever heard it before, so at breakfast the next morning, I asked Laura where she had learned the legend she shared with us around the campfire. “I read it in a library book.” she replied, going to her tent and returning with the book. I knew that she read on a rudimentary level, having completed kindergarten, but as I looked through the book it hardly seemed possible that a child who had not yet started first grade was reading at this level! She had even read an introductory note that preceded the beginning of the story, explaining that it was the most celebrated legend of this Italian town and was told and retold there to this day.
So I remember this camping trip as the time when I was amazed to discovered how far above grade level Laura was reading and comprehending. She’s been immersed in books ever since. So has Megg, but it is Laura who I remember never leaving the house, even for a short run to the grocery store, without a book to keep her company.