The building in this photo is where I got my real reading start. In the early 1970’s, it was our town’s nicest drug store. Grandma would send me the 6 blocks to Womack’s to pick up her prescriptions, cigarettes, butter rum Lifesavers, and Vicks vapo-rub. Which I would charge to her account.

Knowing I had no money, Mr. And Mrs. Womack would let me sit at the soda counter with a gratis cherry coke and read all the comic books from the metal, spinning rack. So long as I didn’t lick my finger to turn the pages, so long as the flimsy pages still looked brand new. When I moved on to the Harlequin Romances at age 11, they didn’t mind one bit.

I became a fast reader in that store.

Did you have someone in your young life — outside your family, maybe — who helped you along your reading path?

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