When I was little I used to love to tell exaggerated stories. I hated to be put on the spot with a question and would be inventible I’d fib. It was a second nature. I would start with something simple like a boy kissed a girl and then next you know Jack and Jill did it greek on top of the hill and I didn’t even know what that was.
Maybe this habit formed out of boredom. I didn’t attend school or daycare. Had no cousins or family outings. There was no television or radio. Once I could read my escape was found. I could go anywhere a nonfiction book could take me. I adored books and still do. I used to fill my suitcase with more books than clothes.
When it’s up to the book or storytelling for entertainment you learn to elaborate. Especially once you learn how to get a reaction! We weren’t supposed to be joking and silly. Being solemn is deemed the Christian way. As a child though that’s what comes naturally. Being silly. Having fun. Laughing goofing around, being silly. We just had to do it in secret so as not to get into trouble. Don’t get me wrong, we had swings, toys, paints, and colors. No board games, sports, or other competitive or frivolous things but we did have fun. However reading was my favorite as I didn’t need a friend to escape and have a great adventure.
The trouble with the nonfiction Christian books I recall having access to is that they were filled with torture, end of times before Christ second coming. Horrible pain and suffering before a life of bliss in heaven could happen. Needless to say, I was terrified into religious belief. I also learned that your closest friends and family are the ones to watch for. They will turn you in to be tortured to death to save themselves. Burning at the stake, stretched on the rack, drowned to death. So many ways the wrong religious believers were tortured and killed. Books like The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Book, Pilgrims Progress, Paula the Waldensian , novelized history of the churches persecution to bring all to the accepted faith. Terrifying stuff let me tell you. Those were some of the books I read as a child growing up. One book I never forgot was They’re All Dead Aren’t They by Joy Swift. I read that after the loss of my father and it wrenched my pain beyond what it was to excruciating levels. I could feel what she felt on top of what I felt. The pain twisted inside sucking out all air.
Thankfully I also had Laura Ingalls Wilder in my life and fell in love with her series. I was ten when I got my first Little House on the Praire – to give you an idea how old I was reading some of the other books.
Probably not the best way to spend your formative years. Leaves a lot of distrust in general. Needless to say, it was terryifying to have faith and terryifying not to have faith. You were damned either way.