Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Things I Don't Remember


I've always read. A lot. From the exclusion of normal childhood activities to a profound inability to sleep unless I've finished a chapter even today, I've forever nursed a fear of being "out of book".

These days, I hit Half Price Books or Borders regularly enough but when I was little I relied on the library. Specifically, my small town public school library. My class's library days were almost a holiday for me. I knew where everything was and could instantly tell if there was anything new. Anything new in that library was almost painfully rare.

I specifically remember one fateful trip to the school library when I was in second or third grade and I found one of those never-before-checked-out-by-anyone books. I remember looking at the bright glossy-wrapped golden-orange cover with a pirate ship on it. I remember worrying that the book was possibly too new to check out for some reason and that I'd be sent back to the old shelves again to check out the same familiar copy of Robin Hood I'd already checked out a dozen times that year.

But I successfully checked it out and took it home and read it almost completely that first night. There were two boys and high adventure and a pirate ship . . . and for the life of me I could not remember the title or author no matter how hard I tried. And I tried for years.

Since my daughter is about the age I was when I read it, I started really trying to figure out what it was again. Google was no help, or rather I could not provide Google with enough information to go on.

Then, possibly due to a happy coincidence of vitamins and cola and the hyperactive regurgitation of my subconscious I remembered the first four words of the title!

"The Day the Sea . . . something something". No author came to mind but I figured, being that it was giant hardcover novel (to my third grader hands, anyway) it would belong to a prominent children's book author from the late seventies.

Amazon came through for me with just that information. "The Day The Sea Rolled Back" is an out-of-print novel from 1979 in which two boys wander out into an exposed sea bed in search of pirate treasure during a freak tidal event. The author? M. Spillane.

M. Spillane? As in Mickey "Mike Hammer" Spillane? 180px-TheErectionSetpaperback 

Apparently, yes. The author of gritty, sex-filled, violent detective novels also apparently wrote a couple of "Young Adult" books.

This goes a long way towards explaining my life-long love of pulp fiction. I had attributed it solely to the works of Robert E. Howard up until now, but apparently my introduction was much earlier.

Anyway, I won't be picking up a copy for Gwynyth until she is old enough to legally drink. She is bound to be warped enough without the assistance Mickey Spillane could provide an eight-year-old in that regard.

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