No child was more passionate about reading, and books, than I was. I took books with me to summer camp. I read during meals and baths and bus rides and recess and church; and I remember remaining in the back seat of the car, reading, when the rest of my family got out to climb an observation tower on a scenic trip once. And of course I read in bed.
But never under the covers with a flashlight.
Maybe that was because my mother never forced me to stop reading and turn off the light. But also, thinking back, even if she had...where would I have found a flashlight? It wouldn't have been an easy-to-come-by item in my house. Certainly not something readily available to the kids.
But here's the thing. It seems that every other bookloving adult in the western world reports that as children they read under the covers with a flashlight.
I am thinking about that this morning because I went to a website to read an interview with a writer friend of mine, Pat Lowry Collins, (good interview, by the way: http://historicalnovelreview.blogspot.com/2011/06/interview-with-pat-lowery-collins-by.html) and after I finished reading it, as a way of not going directly back to work, I clicked on other, random interviews....and there, once again, yet one more person describes reading over the covers with a flashlight as a child.
And now I have come to a conclusion. This is an apocryphal story. I do not think all these people actually did that. I think they feel they should have, or might have, or could have, and that they should include it as part of their description-of-bookish-childhood.
But I think the actual number of people who read under the covers with a flashlight (which, incidentally, would not be easy, having to balance the covers and aim a flashight and also turn pages) is very, very few.
Sorry, folks, but I think this is a false memory.