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COMMUNITY VOICE

Some readers tell about their trips influenced by the books they read

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 12:01 am

They say books open up the world. Well, judging by your mail, they have affected your traveling — or at least, your dreams about traveling.

Here are three responses to my column on the effect of books.

Mary Lou Jones wrote about “At Home in Mitford,” plus 10 others in the series. She requests, “Please take me back to ‘Mitford’ (Jan Karon series) so that I can meet the charming Fr. Timothy Kavenagh and all the delightful characters that lived in that colorful little town. Oh, to taste a slice of Ester’s Orange Marmalade Cake, or to meet Puny and Louella, two of the best cooks in Mitford. I would love to visit Miss Sadie up at Hope House.

“This alluring little village,” she writes, “is fictitious, of course, but when I read these books, I felt like I had gone back in time to my childhood home in Potter County, Pa., and I long for that peaceful, whimsical time that most of our children today unfortunately will never experience.”

Lisa Fybush, a former resident, wrote, “One of the first books I remember reading was Richard Scarry’s ‘Busy, Busy World.’ It had a story in it about the Trevi Fountain.”

When she went to Rome, she asked and searched all over until she found it. Unfortunately, the fountain was closed for renovation. Triton was covered with scaffolding, “and there were three cats sitting in the DRY fountain. Needless to say, I did not throw a coin in.”

But there were other trips she planned based on other media. One was to Portmeirion, a resort in North Wales where the TV show “The Prisoner” was based and she was hooked on it. Another trip was to Dyersville, Iowa. That was to see “The Field of Dreams” because of the movie with the same name.

Beth Sheets wrote, “One of the books that influenced me to want to travel to England was the book, ‘I Capture the Castle,’ by Dodie Smith. It is about a family who inherits a castle, moves to it, expecting it to be as romantic as we see in fairy tales, and it is not.”

It was not what she expected, but she enjoyed seeing the family adjust to reality. And she dreamed of experiencing a castle and did. “It was cold, hard and airy, and not very comfortable,” Beth writes. “I was very happy to return to my hotel room but had in my imagination returned to that time in the Middle Ages when this was opulence.

“I was also able to go to Stratford-upon-Avon to see Shakespeare’s home and the surrounding area. It had been a dream of mine to be there where the bard was born.”

She and her spouse bought a set of encyclopedias, and she used much of the information about the pyramids in Egypt and in Mexico in her teaching. She wants to see them, too. “That is my ‘some day,’”she tells us.

Now, let me correct something I wrote in that column about traveling to sites one had read about and said I had not ridden a camel over the desert. I did ride a camel, and it was awful. D.H. Lawrence wouldn’t understand. I was wearing a skirt when we went to the great pyramid and the Sphinx and was told we had to ride camels to get to the pyramid.

“I’m wearing a skirt,” I lamented, and was told I could ride sidesaddle. I looked longingly at the bus, but the bus wasn’t moving. So, reluctantly, I climbed up on that beast, held on to the pommels with all my might as he galumphed across the sand to the pyramid. I slid down ungracefully and walked over to the entrance. Romantic? Ha!

Thank you, Mary Lou, Lisa and Beth for sharing your delightful experiences with us.

Betty E. Stein is a retired teacher.