How to Return to Childhood: Read The Hobbit on National Tolkien Reading Day

Thank you, Mrs. Handy

Melissa Gouty
Literature Lust

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The Hobbit Hole, something to celebrate on national Tolkien Reading Day!
Photo by Zac Smith on Unsplash

Beautiful but terrifying Mrs. Handy

When I was in fourth grade, I was put into a split class in a new school. The teacher, Mrs. Handy, was beautiful. Even as a kid I knew it. She had pretty skin, silky hair, and a slender, youthful appearance, looking far more like an older sister would look than my previous teachers. (My former teachers had all been maternal women who wore glasses old-fashioned dresses, and black lace-up shoes.)

Mrs. Handy terrified me. She didn’t smile much and was definitely not the soft, warm, maternal kind of teacher I had expected. I spent most of that year not talking and avoiding her but not because I’d misbehaved or done anything wrong. I was quite simply, for some unknown reason, scared of her.

But I owe Mrs. Handy a huge debt. She introduced me to J.R.R. Tolkien, a writer whose works made me love stories.

Every day after lunch recess, Mrs. Handy turned off the lights in the room and told us to lay our heads on our desks and listen to the story. (Maybe she didn’t really like kids and needed the extra quiet time without the constant movement and jabbering of her students?) But I will never forget listening to her voice as she…

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Melissa Gouty
Literature Lust

Writer, teacher, speaker, and observer of human nature. Content for HVAC & Plumbing Businesses. Author of The Magic of Ordinary. LiteratureLust and GardenGlory.