My mother gave me her childhood book of fairy tales when my children were young. This wasn’t a book she had ever shown me, or my brother and sisters. I think it was my teaching and my newfound love of children’s literature that prompted her to give me the book.
I was thrilled and excited. I read many of the fairy tales, especially the ones I knew. I remember calling Mother and the conversation we had on the phone. It went something like this:
Me: “Mother, these fairy tales are terrible.”
Mother: “What do you mean?”
Me: “They’re violent.”
The silence was deafening. I could see the stiffening and the tension, and I wasn’t even there. I could see the eyes tightening and the chin rising, even though I wasn’t there.
My mother was a no-nonsense, tough woman. She always idolized her grandfather who was a coal miner from Wales…
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