We've all had them, I think. The story or book, the movie or radio show that you enjoyed when you were younger that you still think about sometimes today. Sometimes it's something as simple as "that story that Grandpa told all the time about the day his best friend jumped off a battleship" or as nostalgic as "that animated movie I watched a hundred times the year I turned 8."
There are stories for each of us that just... stick around. Some of us remember more of those stories than others. The rest of us have That One Story that either we've never been able to find again or that we simply neglected to purchase once we became Fully-Fledged Adults.
Mine is a book about a puppy. In fact, that's even one of the words in the title. The book was called Puppy Lost in Lapland, and I found it in the school library when I was 9 or 10. It wasn't very long, but it was a chapter book and I felt very accomplished for reading it.
I'm pretty sure I must have talked about this book in the past, but here we go again. What I wanted to talk about isn't the book itself, but rather why it stuck with me, and my thoughts on why stories stay with us as long as they do.
Maybe it was the Great Illustrated Classics version of Swiss Family Robinson or the picture book Mom read to you a million times, One Monster After Another. Something about those stories makes an impression on us when we are young and stays with us for years, and here's my theory on why:
Most often, when I think back on the books that have carved out a place for themselves in my memory, I don't remember the book itself. I remember the changes it wrought on me or the way I see things.
I remember The Hobbit not just because I've read it a hundred times, but because it was the book that changed the world for me - it showed me that reading can be really, really fun.
I remember Puppy Lost in Lapland because it was the first book I can recall that made me feel something for the characters. When I thought the titular Puppy was going to die, I cried over that book, and I didn't understand how or why a dog that had never existed to make me Feel those Feelings.
I remember Little Women because it showed me in ways I could not deny that a a series of printed pages bound into a single thick manuscript could hold something like truth. Not that I could break out the test tubes and Bunsen burner to prove it, but that the things I write because other people like that stuff and the things I write because there's Something Important I want to share with my audience are not the same thing.
These books were not just stories. They were milestones in my life, and they mark the points at which my worldview was unalterably changed - unfolded to encompass something so big I hadn't even imagined it existed before then.
In case I get too serious about this, I also remember Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, because I finished it and asked my mother for the next book, and that was the first time I had encountered the idea that people were still writing books. I was blown away. I guess before that point I had just thought that all books already existed, and that no one wrote them anymore because they'd already all been written.
So here's my question for you, Inklings. Is this true for you, too? Do you remember movies, games, books, and stories from your childhood because they changed the way you think? Or am I just thinking about this too much?