Note from Marianne Wood: My mother, Marjorie Andrews, passed in 2018, but her legacy continues as I now download books from Hoopla, Kindle, or Audible, enjoying the delight of opening up a new world via the written word. And I have a warning for parents who read to their children: books may so inspire them that they wish to travel, even live, far away. Pearl Buck’s Yulan, Flying Boy of China inspired our son to not just travel, but live and learn in that fascinating land.


Over the years, one of my favorite things to do has been to gather a fresh load of books from the Abilene Public Library. Sometimes I have had a list of “wish to reads” sparked by new interests and suggestions from friends. At other times I’d just follow my nose to various sections of the library, but especially to the new books. Each collection I’d take home was treated with intense speculation, curiosity, and desire for information or adventure.


Marianne Wood

After decades of performing this rite, I remembered that I have a photograph that tells where it all began–with mother reading to young children at the new Abilene Public Library. I believe the event was called “Children’s Hour.” Each week, mother sat in a diminutive plush red chair to read to her captivated audience while elf-like library workers stuffed surprise books into satchels we’d left outside the door–ready to be collected on the way out.

As you can see from the 1960’s-era photo, we dressed up for the occasion. I am the one biting her fingernails. I recall that my Kate Greenaway dress was indeed green. My finely-coifed friend, Fredda Bedford (now Rosenbaum), is sitting to my left. Note that some boys dressed in suits and girls wore dresses. It was a different time!


Marjorie Andrews reads to a group of children at the Abilene Public Library circa 1960. Her daughter, Marianne Wood, is the one biting her fingernails. Submitted photo

Mother, who taught briefly at Bowie Elementary, loved teaching and reading to my brother and sister and me. Her love of science drove investigations of plants and trees as well as eclipses and aviation. Skill at piano and flute brought classical music into our home. 

And she loved reading to the children at the library. So she started us well: sharing her love of the sweet treasure of books. Thanks, Mom. And Happy Mother’s Day!

Marianne Wood works as an editorial assistant and researcher for Bill Wright and teaches art education at Hardin-Simmons University


  • What a beautiful and nostalgic story, Mrs. Woods. What a small world! I was in your first AP Art History class at Cooper and just came across your name and story on this website! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story! Best wishes & happy Mother’s Day!


  • Reading opens, for many people, a world that would be otherwise unknown. Thank you for sharing.


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