All of us find some beauty, some pleasure or allegiance in childhood to help us endure. For me, I found it in the natural world — in a childhood in New Zealand and the South Pacific, seeing Mt Fuji and Tahiti, swimming in the rivers and ocean of coastal Australia.
It was also in books: most particularly in Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood: a world in which the roller coaster of childhood experience — the power and the powerlessness –becomes Adventure and Change; various “lands” arrive via clouds at the top of the Faraway Tree. There is the Land of Presents, the Land of Spells, the Land of Know-It-Alls.
One adventure replaces another. One survives, glories, trembles, eats candy that is one minute cool and next burning hot. One day it is The Land of Birthdays, the next The Land of Tempers or, The Land of Do-As-You-Please.
What better reason for enduring: knowing that there is no one world, that the next, or the one after that, could be the Land of Topsy-Turvy or, one of all children’s favorite: The Land of Take-What-You-Want.
What would you take, reader, if you had to take something? I might just take these memories. I might just take this little book — one copy of which made it to Northeast America when my family immigrated there at my childhood’s end: age 12 I was.