A Generation Ago – Memories of St Nicholas and Time Spent Reading

A Generation Ago – Memories of St Nicholas and Time Spent Reading

From the moment I could read and throughout most of my younger years I was a bookworm. I read all day and at night I would hide under the covers and read by torchlight. Books accompanied me everywhere – they sat next to my cereal at breakfast and I would read while brushing my teeth. Unfortunately my father would not allow me to read at the dinner table. At the age of eight or nine I was ploughing through all of the Enid Blyton books, the Nancy Drew books and the Lone Pine Five, to mention just a few of my favourite authors at the time, consuming around at least ten books a day. I remember making weekly visits to the library with my mother and staggering home with armfuls of books. Yes, all I did was read.

The other day I came across this article about the St Nicholas magazines. I inherited my mother’s bound volumes of these magazines – she had the ones from 1906 – 1916 – and I remember reading them as a teenager. Now they sit on the bottom shelf of my bookcase and every so often I think I should go back through them. I wonder where my mother got them from. Perhaps they were a gift to her or, knowing my mother, she probably found them in a second hand book store.

I loved the St Nicholas magazines – especially the serialised stories. I gravitated toward the girly ones of course, but there was plenty of adventure in them. I was not so keen on the articles about Science and Nature and I gave the practical articles – like how to build a swimming pool out of sawn logs – a wide berth, but I enjoyed the poetry and the Letters to the Editor. There were also stories on geography – often featuring cities around the world, songs with the music and lyrics, features on different sports, updates on world events – the last two volumes have posts on World War I, and a section just for younger children.

StN 3
StN 2
StN 1

The St Nicholas magazines came out monthly and each bound volume contains six months worth. Stories were often serialised over the year and I remember impatiently trying to find the next instalment of the stories which were particularly exciting. My preference was, and still is, for stories with some sort of mystery – detective stories are a real favourite.

Nowadays I no longer have time to read all day long, much as I would like to. But in the last few months I have made it a habit to read in bed at night for an hour or so before the book falls from my hands – and sometimes that book is on my laptop which is a whole other issue! I am still a member of a library and value my membership. It is awesome to have an unlimited number of books to read! Perhaps one day I will again work my way through the St Nicholas magazines. It will be interesting to read them as an adult.

Alex

Alex de Fircks is a writer of memoir and short fiction. She blogs about family, moments in time, memories and travel. Alex is passionate about history, genealogy and family stories.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Carol Simpson

    I never heard of the St. Nicholas magazines. I’ll have to check them out! I used to like reading the stories in the Reader’s Digest books, which my Mom had a lit of.

    1. Alex

      We would have had them all in Richfield Springs too! I’ve had a look on ebay and there seem to be lots of them around and lots of people selling them!

Leave a Reply