Thinking of the Old Mother West Wind stories, I'm still shaking my head in wonder at how prolific Burgess was, having written 15,000 (!) syndicated stories, delivered a popular radio show for ten years, and become a leader in the movement to protect wildlife.
Harold Garis impresses too with his thirty-year, six-day-a-week output. I said in my last post that I'd include one of Garis's chapter endings--silly statements that besides making the child listener laugh, give the subject of tomorrow's chapter. Here's a typical one: "And on the page after this, in case the moving picture man doesn't take our kitchen sink away to use as a fountain pen, I'll tell you about Uncle Wiggily and the lazy duck."
I think it's interesting that Burgess and Garis were journalists and kept writing day after day for their long lives, while Beatrix Potter in middle-age happily gave up her writing and illustrating children's books to become a sheep-farmer and to lead the effort to create a huge land trust.
But back to my father reading to me at bedtime....Several years passed and I was sick with measles. The absolute worst part of this disease is that I wasn't allowed to read. It shows you what a loving father mine was that he picked up the book I had been devouring and began reading it to me. That book was Little Women. I don't believe he found Jo and her sisters and handsome young Laurie very interesting but night after night he read, until I was allowed to read again and began for myself Alcott's Little Men.
One more book I remember my dad bringing to read soon after this was The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. As I saw the book I thought: "Well this isn't a book I'd choose but fair's fair: he read a book I love, this must be a favorite of his."
Dad began: "I was born in the Year 1632, in the City of York, of a good Family, 'tho not of that country, my Father being a Foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull... He went on reading more of this for about five minutes, if I remember rightly, and then shut the book emphatically: "Good lord, the whole page is one sentence. Tomorrow we'll try something else."
I don't remember his reading to me after that but one of the photos over my desk is my dad happily absorbed in a book.