September 9, 2011

Neat and Tidy, Part Two

On my recent trip to Indiana, my sister and I were looking through books in little Will's new nursery. She had some brand new books, but also some old ones she kept from our childhood.

I was so utterly delighted to come across two books I had completely forgotten about--the Serendipity Books. When I was little, I absolutely loved looking at the beautiful illustrations in these books. The writing is very poetic, too.

The thing I loved most about these books were the depictions of a very proper, clean, lovely life. I had a tendency to fixate on these books because of my intense love of the idea of a "perfect" life.

The first book, The Grumpling, tells the story of etiquette and good manners. This is a charming story which teaches little ones all about politeness.

The main character is Buttermilk; "She was very polite and her manners were impeccable." I loved this photo of her in her little apron, busy baking delicious treats in her kitchen.

Buttermilk invites the Grumpling, a bear without an ounce of manners, to tea. Of course, it is disastrous. {I always loved looking at the photos of the beautifully-set tables of an afternoon tea time.}


It all ends well, however, with the Grumpling finally learning proper manners.

The next Serendipity book I loved even more:

This book is all about perfection. My sister and I were laughing as we came across this book and she noted, "Yup, Deanne, that's you! The OCD dragon..."

Persnickity is a dragon who is unique in his cleanliness, for dragons are naturally filthy. He moves out of the cave he shares with the other dragons in pursuit of a "perfect" life.

I never thought the word "perfect" was used too much!

And even now, reading the below page fills me with a warm fuzzy feeling...

As you can imagine, the party isn't what Persnickity had hoped for.

The book ends with Persnickity loosening up, and enjoying entertaining the dragons at his home often, even though they make a mess. {this was an especially good lesson for me to learn!}

These two books reminded me of one other book that was a favorite of mine growing up, again because of the theme of a clean/organized life:

I was raised on Berenstain Bears books, and I have our family's collection of sixteen books to this day. Of all sixteen, this book alone stood out to me.

I always adored the fact the the Berenstain Bears lived in a tree house. And this book describes how lovely their home was...

...all except for Brother and Sister Bears' room.

It's a story of struggle between the cubs and Mama Bear over the mess and clutter.

I can still feel the eager anticipation I experienced as a child, when reading this book and coming to the very end:

A very clean and very organized room! I could think of nothing more wonderful! 

The very last page of the book was my favorite. I used to sit there and just stare at the page for several minutes on end. {Oh, it's just so organized!}

As you can see, I was sort-of a weird kid in that I was so infatuated with cleanliness, organization, perfection, etc., etc.

I guess that's just always who I've been, and always who I'll be--ever the girl who needs to loosen up a bit about things not being so perfect.


{After reading yesterday's blog post, Matt thought it would be funny to go around the apartment and switch/move little things. I guess I haven't come so far since childhood, since I instantly had to go around the apartment, putting things right again...why does everyone find this so amusing!?}

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