I admit. I had to Google “golden years” because I wasn’t sure I qualified.
But I just turned 65 last week, so I’m officially in that cool kids club. I’m wise enough to know where I’ve been, and fearless enough to declare where I’m going without apologies or hesitation.
I recently rediscovered some of the books of my childhood — Little Golden Books — and started collecting a few.
One of my original volumes is priced at 39 cents, but today they go for about $4.99 on Amazon. They still have that familiar scrolled and glittery binding. They are short and fun to consume.
When I ZOOM with my grandkids, I have something to read to them, but I’ve also ruminated on the timeless lessons some of them contain.
- Nurse Nancy is a bit of a sexist tome. It revolves around a little girl who has no one to play with her. Then, her brothers and his friends get injured and she suddenly has value as a caretaker. On the bright side, nursing careers are now very lucrative so Nancy probably grew up to make bank.
- The Lively Little Rabbit is from my own childhood collection. A weasel tries to devour the bunny, but he teams-up with his friends and defeats the beast. The weasel gives up and leaves the woods. Its life lesson is still relevant today.
- The Little Red Hen contains a philosophy that I apply to my daily adult life. The main character’s animal friends don’t help her bake a cake, but they all want to eat it. After 65 years, I’ve finally learned that unless that duck, goose, pig, and cat want to help me bake (metaphorically), they can find or create their own carb-filled delights. In combination with Nurse Nancy, those volumes remind me that I need to know my self-worth and avoid users and victims.
- I found Robots, Robots Everywhere! in a more recent collection of Golden Books. Published in 2003, it doesn’t contain any real-life lessons. But it reminds us that technology is here to stay and that robots can be our friends.
Apparently, 1,200 books are now in print. Some are pure entertainment, while others are educational (like the abridged bio of Ruth Bader Ginsburg or the overview of a Narwhal’s life).
Others follow current media trends and tell abbreviated versions of Star Wars stories or Spider-Man. (I don’t really love that, but at the risk of sounding like a cranky old crone, I’ll just let it be. At least kids are encouraged to read.)
The moral of this post is that sometimes big timeless messages can be found in short and simple things from our past.
Like Aesop’s Fables, Golden Books will live on, long after memes, GIFs, and Tik Toks have faded.