Today is Lucy Maud's birthday. The Lucy Maud in question is, of course, L.M Montgomery, she who wrote Anne of Green Gables.
I didn't read Anne on my own as a young girl. My fist experience of her was when I was in grade six or so, during a sleep over at a friend's house. Her mom read us a few chapters that night - an unusual occurrence that had never happened before, and was never repeated. My friend wasn't too impressed with the story, but I was entranced. Anne wedged herself into my imagination as vividly as though she had been my dearest friend in life. I lived on those few chapters until I was able to buy my own copy.
Shortly after, my family moved again, which for us typically meant a summer spent camping our way from old house to new. I read my way through Anne's life that summer, from orphaned waif to marriage and motherhood. The first book in the series, Green Gables, still brings with it the smell of late night camp fires, damp sleeping bags, and propane lanterns. No matter what fun was to be had on any given day, all it took was for me to open the book and I'd fall headlong back into the story of Anne, Green Gables, and Prince Edward Island.
I wanted so much to be as dreamy and imaginative as Anne. I wanted to find a Lover's Lane of my own, and drift down a river like the Lady of Shallot. I wanted a devoted friendship like that of Anne and Diana, and to be as fierce when a boy tormented me as she was when Gilbert pulled her hair.
There have been many, many wonderful books in my life, and many of those have been captivating. A good book lingers, leaving traces of itself behind so that you can point to it, and say, "That. That part of me came from that book." Anne was one of the first for me, and certainly one of the greatest.
Heartfelt thanks to you, Lucy Maud. Happy birthday.