November 24, 2015

My Mother's Gift - Tandy Balson

My mother was very excited as she presented me with a copy of Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter. She told me that this was one of her favorite books when she was a girl.

Soon I was lost in the story of Elnora, an impoverished girl living near the Limberlost Swamp. Her life moved from the pages of a book into my imagination, where I pictured the scenes and her struggles.

I had read Trixie Beldon and Nancy Drew mysteries, but they were just entertaining stories.  Elnora’s life became very real to me.  It was the first time I was ever sad when a book ended.  I didn’t want to leave her and imagined how her life would have carried on.

Thus began a life-long love of reading.  By gifting me with literature that was important to her, my mother ignited my passion for a well written story.  

Over the years I have spent countless hours immersed in good books. The world around me fades away as I enter into the stories.  To this day, I feel one of the best ways to spend a day is curled up with a book.

This love of reading has been passed along to my daughter and my grandchildren.  I wonder if my mother realized the legacy she was handing down when she gave me that book.

I inherited her collection of books when she passed away.  In it are many classics, some dating back more than 100 years.  I treasure these volumes and when I look at them I send up a prayer of thanks for the mother who loved me enough to share her favourite book with me.


  1. My mom and I had a, well, not a great relationship (understatement), but she did teach me a love of reading. Every night we sat on the couch and she read to me library books on whatever topic I was immersed in at the time. Thank you for reminding me of something good she gave me!

  2. Anonymous5:50 am GMT-7

    What a beautiful legacy and inheritance! I also liked Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon but have not heard of Elnora books that were your hook to read.

  3. I remember THE GIRL OF THE LIMBERLOST! thanks for reminding me of it. I, too, inherited a love of reading from my mother and grandmother. What a legacy!

  4. I believe a love of reading is one of the great gifts we can pass along to future generations and I've been blessed to see it in my daughter and her daughters.

  5. Thanks Tandy, my mother modelled a love of reading, it may have been escapism, however, I see that she passed on the love of reading as well. Besides we often do need to escape.

  6. Oh yes, I remember it too - loved it almost as much as the Emily of New Moon book I was given that made me realize I could some day call myself a writer. I don't remember my mother reading to me (she was a working mom so likely didn't have the energy in the evenings). But I do remember many conversations about the books I read.

  7. Tandy--what a beautiful family history centred around books. I'm so glad you inherited your mom's books. Now you can continue the legacy.

  8. My mom's eyes would light up when she talked about The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter or Anne of Green Gables and the other Anne books by Lucy Maude Montgomery. She is the one who pointed these books out to me, and you really could "live" in these books. Mom enjoyed them again when I started reading them. Thanks for sharing this good reminder, Tandy.


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