Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Adventures of Gran and Jan and Jennifer

Every man's memory is his private literature. ~Aldous Huxley

One of the joys of having Mum stay with us now is that the girls have almost undivided time with their Granny. They are loving her company and all she brings to their days whether that be food, clean clothing, tickles, cuddles or a bit of time reading together.

At my request Granny brought with her from home a book which she remembers fondly from her childhood. She was given The Adventures of Jan and Jennifer when she was just 8 years old by her Aunt and Uncle living in Parramatta. They lived next door to Mrs Edwards, the mother of Don Edwards, the author of this lovely children's book. I don't think it has become a classic as there seem not to be many copies readily available. There's one at the National Library of Australia. It also seems to be available at Pioneer Books, antiquarian booksellers and publishers. Interestingly it was recommended by The Children's Newspaper of March 17, 1951 as one of "Harraps' excellent York Series for Young Children, 4s each". So I wonder how much of a treasure we really have in this book. A copy signed by the author himself! Have you heard of it or read it yourself?

Each day Ess would ask Granny to read another chapter of the book so the girls could journey off together with Jan and Jennifer as they discovered places around their home which is quite reminiscent of old time Parramatta. The two little girls aged around 8 or 9 explored with Australian bush animals close by their side and became quite protective of them when faced with danger.

It's a pity when sweet little books such as this are lost as they contain such beautiful memories of times gone by and give us an insight into what life was like for children. Granny remembers it fondly due to her family's connection with the family of the author. Little Jan is assumed to be the daughter of the author. What a beautiful memory. Literature really comes alive, doesn't it, when connected with one's own life.

What connections do you have with some form of published literature?


Millie said...

I have quite a few of my childhood books, nothing special, but my kids love me to read them to them. They imagine what I was like when I was little like them!

Homestay Mama said...

Your daughters are blessed to be able to have their grandma there to spend lots of quality time reading good books with them. I still have a favorite book from my childhood--it is nearly 60 years old now, and a little dog-eared, but the story itself never grows old!

Cee said...

So what is your favourite childhood story HS Mama, I am intrigued.

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