I can still remember sitting on the floor, paging through a few at a time, asking one of the adults around me to read them to me. If I couldn't get anyone to read them to me, I would just stare at the pictures, getting lost int he visual adventures. Once I started to read for myself, they were some of my best friends, never leaving my side. I probably read them long after I should have stopped, though I doubt I'm the only one.
So for the next few weeks, I'm going to be sharing with you guys some of my favorite characters from those books. They are probably not going to be long posts, mainly because they weren't long books. They will be characters that have stayed with me over the years, characters I hope that you guys remember with just as much fondness.
Growing up in Two Harbors, MN, tugboats were a natural part of my childhood. For much of it's history, Two Harbors has been an important shipping port for iron ore. Rail cars would bring the ore to the docks, and that ore would be placed on giant freighters bound for the manufacturing centers that sprang up around the Great Lakes. Tugboats were used to help bring in the freighters, and the Edna G., which was in operation until 1981, is the oldest coal fired, steam powered tugboat on the Great Lakes. It's now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is still sitting in the harbor, open for tours.
As you can see, I love tugboats, and Scuffy the Tugboat was one of my favorite Little Golden Books. Scuffy, for those of you who don't remember, was a toy tugboat, who longed to see the world outside of the bathtub. One day he gets his wish, and like most things in life, it's way more than he bargained for. At first, when his young owner, the son of the toy shop owner, puts him into a small brook, Scuffy is about as content as he can be. It's not too long though that the current carries him away, and before long, he's seeing the world in all it's glory. As the waterway continues to grow, Scruffy starts to realize he may be in over his head, and by the time it looks as if Scuffy is about to get lost int he great big ocean, he's ready to go home. Luckily, his young owner rescues him in time, and Scuffy is content to remain at home, in a world that he knows is safe.
Looking back at the book, you have to wonder if the owner was trying to warn kids to not grow up too fast. Scuffy, as an adult, has taught me to enjoy what I have, and not allow myself to wish for something that in the long run, could be bad for me.