Tommy’s Thoughts #4

A few days ago I exchanged letters with a lady that, unknowingly, had a big impact on my life.  It was the summer of 1951 and I was 10 years old.  The Page coal camp was home to about 20 families, whose fathers worked for the Page Coal company.  None of the families owned a TV and the only telephone was a company system that identified you by the number of rings (to the best of my knowledge only the important people-bosses- had telephones).  There was very little contact with the world outside that small coal camp.  That summer, Gwen Mullins began reading a novel to her 5 children on her front porch.  The reading session lasted an hour and took place every day, except Sunday, rain or shine.  She was kind enough to let other children become fascinated listeners.   It was amazing to me how she could change her voice to become the character speaking and draw me into the world of that story.  To this very day, I do most of my traveling through books and I know that my fondness of them stems from the delight derived from listening to Gwen Mullins read.  She is probably close to 90 years old now, but, I’ll bet good money she still reads and I hope her grandchildren/great-grandchildren had the opportunity to enjoy novels read by such a wonderful person.

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