The summer was a fine thing, particularly when you were at the beginning of it, looking ahead into it. There would be months of beautifully long, empty days, and each other to play with, and the books from the library.
~ Edward Eager (Half Magic)
In astrology, the Third House is concerned with our immediate environment. Early education (particularly pre-college) is influenced by the planets in the Third House. Our relationships with brothers and sisters, relatives and neighbors and short journeys, all come under the jurisdiction of the Third House.
Ruled by Gemini, reading, writing and learning are aspects of the Third House, as opposed to the development of the higher mind of the Ninth House. Planets in the Third House show us how we communicate and our attitude and abilities towards acquiring knowledge.
I remember struggling with learning to read, until I discovered comic books. Then I got it, and I was off to the races. So began the insatiable pleasure of a lifetime.
When I was little, we were moving constantly, and my dad was often off on military assignments. So we spent many of our summers at my grandmother’s, just outside of Roanoke, Virginia. I had no playmates there, and books became my world.
My grandmother was a librarian at Hollins College (now a university) and therefore was a highly contagious book fanatic. Libraries are magical places that as a child I believed were the nearest thing on earth to heaven. I have not really changed my mind about this.
She happened to own the entire series of Oz books (probably first editions.. I wonder whatever happened to them!). Naturally, I plowed through with gusto. By the way, if your only knowledge of Oz is the Judy Garland movie, boy! Are you missing out!
When I turned eight, I got one of my favorite ever birthday presents – James Thurber’s The Wonderful O, which I laughed at, over and over, until my ribs ached. I remember besieging captive audiences at the dinner table with passages from that book. Although amused, no one ever seemed quite as tickled as I was. At least no one else spurted milk out their nose simply thinking about it.
I loved fairy tales, A.A. Milne, Dr. Seuss, all the Mary Poppins books (again, if all you know is the rather soppy Disney movie, the P.L. Travers originals will rock your world!), A Wrinkle In Time, every conceivable horse book, Nancy Drew, and a little gem called Half-Magic, by Edgar Eager. I remember the exact moment I fell in love for keeps with science fiction, thanks to Scholastic Books and Revolt On Alpha C, Robert Silverberg’s first novel.
And yes, I read comic books like a fiend. My preference when I was younger was D.C. Comics; Marvel was an acquired taste later on.
Of course, I could go on and on for hours, but I would love to hear about some of your earliest Third House experiences. Did anyone read to you when you were little? What do you remember about first learning to read? What were your favorite books as a child?