JUNE: So for you in your first four years, that looks like a lot of reading. I remember coming to your house and your little girls, after you read they would draw pictures and do a little, teeny bit of writing.
CHRISTINA: Writing. They might explain the story back to me or tell me their favorite part and we might write that down and they would draw a picture.
CHRISTINA: Or, we have a big costume box, with just cast off clothes from friends or goodwill, or something like that. Where they could go and make costumes and go outside and pretend whatever they wanted to pretend, and it might be the story from that day or it might not be. Really, yeah, a lot of reading in the early years–
JUNE: A lot of outdoor time for you all.
CHRISTINA: A lot of time outside.
JUNE: You spend a lot of time at a nearby nature center.
JUNE: You all were,
CHRISTINA: We would go on hikes and get a–
JUNE: in the creek so much and learning about flowers.
CHRISTINA: I love to get field guides and just, I didn’t know anything about nature, I was like well let’s find out. So we just took out field guide and went out.
CHRISTINA: And I have one child especially that just really took to that and she, you know?
CHRISTINA: Now that’s who I ask when I want to know what that bird is.
JUNE: Yeah. I can remember hiking with you all when she was little, a mean grade school, and she had her little paw print identifier. Any little print we would see in the ground, she could say if that was a fox or a deer. And Maggie you, books are so important in your home. So much time with you reading aloud to your girls and… Paint a bit of a picture.
MAGGIE: I mean, it’s a lot the same, I mean just the reading, the reading was–
CHRISTINA: You just have a big bright living room with a cozy couch.
CHRISTINA: And full bookshelves.
MAGGIE: And we read for hours everyday, I mean really, by the time it was the Bible and history, and then the book we were reading just for enjoyment. It was a lot of reading, but, I will say this. Okay, so this is, okay this is good, I hadn’t remembered this. So, let your children play while you’re reading. If you’re reading out loud, don’t think they have to be sitting still. I mean, you can ask for that at certain times, but–
CHRISTINA: Especially, if you have a little child in the room.
MAGGIE: A little baby one, but one of mine was much more tactile and just really had a hard time sitting, my oldest, still when I read, I still read out loud to them, their graduation requirement is that I read out loud to them until they leave. So, we even now when we do that, she sits right next to me and lets me rub her back, and I, it’s very sweet. My second was just wigglier and she, so I would let her play on the floor, while I would be reading out loud, and I really thought, because she was very little. I mean, we are talking two, when this incident happened, because I was pregnant with Emily and I just remember being huge pregnant and I was reading through one of the little house books. You’ll probably tell me the title after I tell you what the incident was, but it was when Nellie Oleson, it’s the Nellie Oleson incident, you know, where she’s like Laura comes out–
CHRISTINA: The party?
MAGGIE: Yes, the party. And Libby, who had just been, you know, I’m thinking her mind is totally engaged in whatever she is–
JUNE: On the floor, yeah.
MAGGIE: Creating with these toys on the floor. She jumped up and her little fists and pudgy little arms. She was so angry and she just said, “That Nellie Oleson, she is ween and miked.”
JUNE: “Ween and miked.”
MAGGIE: She said, “I’m just want to jump in that book and smack her.” And I thought, okay, well, she’s clearly getting everything there, but–
JUNE: That’s a living book.
MAGGIE: That’s a living book.
MAGGIE: But that even leads me to remember something else I have not thought about for a long time and talking about being, you know, and how do we land here. It really is being in a relationship with other women. And sometimes–
JUNE: Oh, yes.
MAGGIE: But there was a friend of ours who came with her children, they were very small and she talked about how she would just read the bible out loud to her very, very small children and let them play on the floor. And philosophy was, they will be getting something from this.
MAGGIE: And I took that and harnessed it and with really all of it. Like you’re saying, you can be reading Dickens to your older kids and the little ones are still picking up, picking things up.
CHRISTINA: They really are.
JUNE: Yeah. It’s very true.
MAGGIE: So that’s a lot what it looked like, it was a lot of reading, I had to work on my children being outside more than you did necessarily, but lots of imaginative play. I mean, we would sing, lots of singing.
JUNE: Yeah, lots of singing at our house. Lots and tons of music at your house. I think I thought, okay, I want these kids. If we work backwards, I want my children to love singing, play musical instruments, I want them to love good books, of course serve the Lord, and love poetry. You know, all the things that make a life rich and feed the mind. And then we just take little bits of those and so you can’t just think, okay by the time they’re fourteen, I hope they’ll like this and start at age thirteen, because their shapes are taste for something else. So–
MAGGIE: Flip that.
JUNE: Yeah, flip that.
JUNE: But I remember sitting on the floor with my first, reading this book of poetry, this long book of poetry that Ian’s grandmother, his German grandmother had given, this huge anthology of the best old, old poetry. And we still read from that all the time and if I pull that out, my children, they love that book and they know these poems, they, because it’s… There’s a nostalgia for the beauty of that poetry.
MAGGIE: But you can hear it in the way they speak, I mean, I remember when we were doing that more frequently, and you could hear it in the way they would speak. Right, find little scraps of paper with like–
JUNE: A little phrases.
MAGGIE: A little phrases.
MAGGIE: You know, or their turn of phrase would suddenly become very poetic. I mean, it really does it’s–
JUNE: I’ll say this, this little picture came into my head. I remember I would get my stack of books and I realized that if I called my children, “Come, let’s read books,” it would take ten minutes. They would have to detach from whatever was, but if they were anywhere on the ground floor, and I just open that book and I started reading the wonderful book. I never said a word.
CHRISTINA: Oh, that’s great.
JUNE: I would start reading the beginning of Corduroy–
MAGGIE: And they would come.
CHRISTINA: And they would come.
JUNE: Or the beginning of… And they were just, I mean they would run. They wanted to be in the spot right next to the book. And so, that speaks to how yummy books are. You know there’s a siren call of a good book that you don’t want to put down.